Uncertainty remains as the US House heads to another speaker vote Politics News
It was supposed to be a formality that plays out every two years on January 3rd.
The newly elected US House of Representatives convenes; the external speaker cancels the room before it; the majority party elects the leader as speaker, and the new speaker then swears in the elected members. Then, Congress gets down to business – legislating, budgeting and oversight.
Not so this time. Three days and six ballots later, the House has yet to elect a speaker, with top Republican Kevin McCarthy failing to secure a majority as far-right opposition to him has persisted.
As the chamber heads to its seventh vote on Thursday, uncertainty still hangs over McCarthy’s bid for speaker. The Republicans’ thin majority in the chamber has meant that some GOP dissidents can disrupt the party’s agenda.
Since the House adjourned on Wednesday night, some members have been reporting a move towards resolution, but also against McCarthy.
“No deal yet, but a lot of progress,” McCarthy told reporters Wednesday as Republicans continued to negotiate to resolve the impasse.
In three ballots Wednesday, the Republican leader — a California Republican — received 201 votes, far short of the 218-vote majority he needed.
His Republican challengers nominated Florida representative Byron Donalds, who received 20 votes, while Democrat Hakeem Jeffries received 212.
The Republican dissident has made several demands to agree to change their votes and recall McCarthy, including changing House rules to allow any member to cast a vote of no confidence in the speaker.
They also want a bigger voice on the House Rules and Appropriations committees, which would allow them to influence the US government budget and help decide which bills can move forward in the chamber.
Republican spokesman Dan Bishop, who voted against McCarthy, told MSNBC Thursday that the party was working for “continued improvement” on legislative progress, which he said has “seen progress.”
However, some anti-McCarthy holdings appear confident they can continue to cancel his bid.
“We are only up by votes in our division of votes against Kevin McCarthy. We suspect that trend is likely to continue,” spokesman Matt Gaetz, a leader in the Republican dissident camp, told Fox News on Wednesday.
Although the House has not succeeded in electing a speaker in the first round since 1923, Republicans against McCarthy appear to be stalling as a healthy debate that benefits US democracy.
But the House cannot function without a speaker. So how will this crisis end?
As things stand, the only way to resolve the issue is if a candidate gets a majority. At 20 votes, Donalds – the rebel GOP nominee – is far from that mark, and with only two years of US House experience under his belt, he is considered a long-term candidate at best. better.
McCarthy is still the more reasonable choice, but he needs to convince enough dissidents to support him. If he doesn’t and withdraws, Republicans may be able to find a consensus candidate.
So far no reasonable alternative has been put forward to replace McCarthy, but US commentators have suggested that top Republican Steve Scalise, who is currently in the McCarthy camp, could be an option.
The House can absolutely choose someone from outside Congress as speaker. Former Michigan Representative Justin Amash, who left the Republican Party in 2019 before retiring from Congress, has offered to take the job as “nonpartisan” speaker.
Amash has been a long-time critic of the centralization of power in the hands of the speaker, calling for more debates and expanding the influence of individual members in the chamber.
If neither party has the votes to elect a speaker of the House, I’d be happy to be a neutral speaker who makes sure the institution functions properly – a place where it’s welcome all ideas and where outcomes are found throughout the process. , not mentioned above.
– Justin Amash (@justinamash) November 15, 2022
Amash’s claim is also more likely to fail. The former congressman lost his status as a rising star in the Republican Party after regularly criticizing President Donald Trump before he left Congress.
There have also been suggestions that the Democrats and Republicans may come together to choose a moderate speaker. However, in six ballots Democratic lawmakers have remained unanimous in supporting Jeffries and have refused to help Republicans choose a speaker.