Oct 25, 2023

Republicans Struggle to Find a New Speaker of the House

The GOP is in disarray, halting the legislative process.
Republicans Struggle to Find a New Speaker of the House

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Written by Jack Elbaum

What’s happening: After Democrats helped a group of rogue House Republicans oust Rep. Kevin McCarthy as speaker of the House, the GOP keeps failing to elect a new speaker.

  • On hold: While there is no speaker, the House is unable to advance any legislation. Amid the Israel-Hamas war and a looming government shutdown, this is a significant obstacle.

How it started: Rep. Matt Gaetz spearheaded the effort to boot McCarthy with the support of eight other House Republicans. They were all, with one exception, some of the most right-wing members of the house. They were dissatisfied with McCarthy’s lack of action as speaker in addressing the border crisis and cutting spending, viewing him as a member of the establishment.

Since then: Rep. Jim Jordan made a bid to become House speaker but lost in three separate public votes and then again in a secret ballot. Some members cited opposition to his hardline stance on government spending, while others resisted his strong-arm campaign tactics.

  • Also: Rep. Tom Emmer dropped out of the speaker race just hours after securing the GOP nomination. Former President Donald Trump hurt his chances significantly after deriding him as a “Globalist RINO.” It then became clear he wouldn’t get the votes.
  • Who’s next? Republicans have nominated deeply conservative Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) as speaker. Johnson defended the former President during the impeachment saga and has been outspoken about the problems with the FBI and the federal government’s censorship.

Why it matters: The GOP is framing itself as a viable alternative to Joe Biden and the Democrats in the run-up to the 2024 election, but the recent infighting undercuts the image it wants to sell to the American people.

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