McCarthy Could Become House Speaker as Boehner Bails

Rep. Kevin McCarthy
Rep. Kevin McCarthy

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), a prominent supporter of commercial space, is a leading candidate to replace John Boehner (R-OH) as the new speaker of the House of Representatives.

On Friday. Boehner shocked Washington by announcing  he would be resigning his position as speaker and his House seat at the end of October. He was facing increasing challenges to his authority from conservatives Republicans who believe he should be more confrontational with the Obama Administration.  Boehner has served as speaker for nearly five years.

McCarthy, 50, serves as Majority Leader, which is the second most powerful position in the House. He represents California’s 23rd District, which includes the Mojave Air and Space Port, Rosamond and Ridgecrest.

Earlier this year, McCarthy introduced the Spurring Private Aerospace Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship (SPACE) Act of 2015. The measure extends the learning period for commercial human spaceflight, which limits the ability of the Federal Aviation Administration to regulate the industry. It also extends an legal regime under which industry and government share liability for third-party damages caused by commercial launches.

The SPACE Act is now being reconciled with a similar measure passed in the Senate.