Despite winning a ( slim ) majority in the US House of Representatives in the midterm polls, Republicans are struggling to elect a new speaker due to incessant infighting – posing grave questions about the party’s identity. The House of Representatives votes for the speaker on its first day of a new Congress, which was Tuesday. To be elected, a candidate must have a majority of votes cast- the magic number is 218. If no one hits that threshold, the House will continue voting till someone does. But the Republican fissures are revealed in this election session.
The U S of Representatives, at present, has 213 Democrats, 222 Republicans. The majority mark is 218. Total seats are 435. Republicans are at a crossroads as Kevin Mc Carthage has failed over & over again to become House Speaker with a rebellion among the hard -line faction of the party considering him too moderate. 7 rounds of voting have been held where Mc Carthusian has fallen short of majority.
The House is at a standstill now with Mc Carthusian trying to offer concessions to those in his party against him. All ballots have had the same outcome-20 hard-line GOP leaders refusing to support him. This is the first time in 100 years a nominee has not won the gavel on the first vote. The Speaker of the House, third in the line of succession for the presidency, leads the chamber & sets the legislative agenda. Normally the election is a no-brainer, the job goes to the senior – most lawmaker from the party that controls the chamber.
Since Congress does not have a speaker, there are essentially no members in the house, only members-elect. Thus, no one can be sworn in, & the 118th Congress can’t convene. Members can’t call votes or make motions on the floor because no one can rule on their requests. Panels can ‘t be formed & legislation can ‘t be passed.
Kevin McCarthy has long sought the job & was expected to finally achieve his goal when Republicans narrowly wrested control of the House. But this dream has now turned into a recurring nightmare & embarrassment for Mc Carthusian who anyway only had a window to afford for “ no ” votes.
Mac Carthusian & his allies are struggling to convince the hardliners to back him, offering major concessions. However, it’s not clear there is anything Mc Carthusian could do to win over some of his detractors, given that they are not convinced he is committed to advancing their legislative goals.
Republican Whip Steve Scalise, the No. 2 House Republican, is the obvious candidate but he is a known Mc Carthy supporter. The hardline leaders have said it did not make sense to drop Mc Carthy only to back someone ideologically & politically similar to him.
Jim Jordan, a diehard conservative, got the support of all21 anti- Mc Carthy Republicans on Day 1 of voting , but moderate GOP members are unlikely to vote for him. On day 2, those 20 leaders coalesced behind Byron Donalds, one of the few Black members of the Republican conference & part of the right- wing bloc.