Congressman Kevin McCarthy , R-Bakersfield, was re-elected as House majority whip -- the third most powerful GOP member in the House of Representatives -- Wednesday, his office said.

House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor and McCarthy were all running unopposed for their positions. McCarthy was the first California Republican chosen for the leadership position; he's held it since 2011.

"I am honored that my Republican colleagues in the House of Representatives have chosen me to serve as the House Majority Whip," McCarthy said in a news release. "Our nation faces many challenges, and I will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that the commonsense ideas that come from our constituents from Central Valley to the Indian Wells Valley to the Antelope Valley will always be heard in Washington."

Voters overwhelmingly elected McCarthy to a fourth two-year House term last week.

Speaking of McCarthy, a bill he co-authored to extend liability protections for people involved in commercial space launch activity passed the House Tuesday .

It will help continue development of commercial spaceflight, and drew praise from Mojave Air and Space Port CEO Stuart Witt and President & CEO of Virgin Galactic George Whitesides.

The authority, which if not extended would expire at the end of the year, provides indemnification for a portion of any injury claims by third parties that aren't covered by the insurance policies of launch or re-entry operators.

"This legislation will help innovative commercial space companies -- like those located right here in eastern Kern and the Antelope Valley -- prosper and create new American jobs that will keep our country on the cutting edge of space travel," McCarthy said in a news release.