The House floor remains vacant as Speaker search continues

Scrambling for a Speaker

After a hectic few weeks for the U.S. House of Representatives republicans, the House enters its tenth day absent a new Speaker of the House. On Oct. 2, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fl.) moved to vacate Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) from his role as Speaker. A vote of 216-210 passed the motion. This is the first time in U.S. history the Speaker of the House has been voted from the position. McCarthy blamed Democrats for his removal.
“[Democrats] brought chaos in…Congress, said McCarthy, “and now they’ve tried to stymie our ability to have continuity of Congress, which I think is a real problem.”
Many blame McCarthy for his removal after he made significant concessions with strict conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus to gain the votes to win the speakership in January. As part of the bargains McCarthy made was a house rule change that allowed any one member of Congress to bring a motion for removing the Speaker of the House.
McCarthy sparked the fire of Freedom Caucus members in September when he negotiated a stop-gap measure to prevent a government shutdown. Freedom Caucus member Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) called the measure a “betrayal,” and Lauren Boebert said the compromise was a “bad deal.” Losing the confidence of the further right conservatives in the House, ultimately caused McCarthy’s removal.
In the days following McCarthy’s ouster, republicans have been unable to unify and elect a speaker designee who can garner enough support to guarantee the votes needed to win an election on the House floor.
Two representatives have been elected as nominees. On Oct. 11, Majority Leader Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) won the nomination by a secret vote of 113-99. Scalise would have then needed to secure 217 votes to be elected as Speaker. After much internal tumult from Republicans, Scalise could not establish he could secure a winning vote and dropped out as the nominee. On Oct. 13, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) was voted in as the nominee but has yet to prove he can win the votes needed on the House floor.
While Republicans persist with disarray and infighting, no legislation can pass on urgent issues for funding aid to Israel and Ukraine, and negotiations to prevent a government shutdown on Nov. 17 can occur.
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