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How Eric Cantor wants to change the House – and the Republican Party

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“We've made some solid first downs on spending. Now it's time to look to the end zone,” complained Rep. Jim Jordan (R) of Ohio, who chairs the 176-member Republican Study Committee, in a statement Monday announcing his opposition to the latest House measure.

Without another such continuing resolution, funding for government runs out Friday. Cantor said in a press briefing Monday that GOP leaders expect that this three-week extension will be the last before a budget deal is struck with Democrats and the White House. "We hope and intend this to be the last one,” he said.

The lawmaker for Virginia's Seventh District is smart, tireless, and conspicuously polite. He's a prodigious fundraiser – giving more of his own campaign funds to other candidates than any other national politician for two of the past three election cycles. He also is the only Jewish Republican in the House or Senate.

After serving as chief deputy whip for Republicans for three terms, he became House minority whip in 2008. In a controversial move, he rallied House Republicans to vote unanimously against President Obama's $787 billion stimulus bill and signature health-care reform.

Although Cantor has excelled at challenging Democrats, he's also taken a critical line on his own party's history. "[W]e must govern differently. Not just differently than the Democrats, but differently from our previous majority," he wrote in a letter to GOP colleagues after the midterm elections.

The education of a majority leader

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