House Republicans nominate Tom Emmer for speaker | ET REALITY


The House speaker position has been vacant since early October amid Republican disputes that have left the chamber paralyzed.

House Republicans have chosen two candidates for the seat since a group of far-right lawmakers ousted Speaker Kevin McCarthy. But both men – Reps. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the No. 2 Republican, and Jim Jordan of Ohio – were forced to withdraw their candidacy after it became clear that neither could muster the 217 votes needed to win the seat.

House Republicans ruled out Jordan as their presidential nominee on Friday in a secret ballot, essentially moving to begin the search for a new leader anew. In the days since, a flood of lawmakers have thrown their hats into the ring to fill the top leadership position.

Here’s a look at what’s coming next:

House Republicans met Monday to hold a candidate forum for presidential hopefuls to present their visions for the conference.

On Tuesday they will hold internal elections to choose a new candidate and, if they choose one, Republicans could go to the House of Representatives to vote later in the day.

But with nine Republicans running for the seat, that internal election may take longer than usual. Conference rules require that the party’s candidate must obtain a simple majority of votes. If no one wins a majority on the first ballot, the candidate who received the fewest votes will be voted out of the second ballot and lawmakers will vote again. That process will continue until there is a nominee.

Looming over the process is House work that has been on hold since McCarthy’s ouster, including a rapidly approaching Nov. 17 deadline to decide how to fund the federal government and a new request from the Biden administration to fund the Conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East.

Choose the next speaker

Kevin McCarthy was elected president in January after 15 rounds of voting.Credit…Kenny Holston/The New York Times

The process of electing a new president is transparent and low-tech, as the world learned in January during McCarthy’s once-in-a-century fight to win the gavel. The entire House of Representatives gathers in the chamber and lawmakers cast their votes in alphabetical order, standing up and calling out a name. Whoever gets the majority of those present and participants wins the race.

If the entire House is in attendance, that means a candidate needs at least 217 votes to be elected president. (There are currently 433 House members and two vacancies.) The math can change if there are absences or if a legislator votes “present” instead of supporting a candidate.

If no one manages to meet that threshold, the House simply continues holding elections until someone does. Typically, a speaker has been chosen after a floor vote. But if that proves impossible, the process can drag on indefinitely. McCarthy prevailed after five days and 15 votes.

Could Republicans form a coalition with Democrats?

The House’s 212 Democrats are expected to continue voting as a united bloc for Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the minority leader.

Jeffries has proposed the idea of ​​forming a coalition government that he describes as an “enlightened agreement.” But the idea is a long shot. And given that he has more votes than any Republican seeking the presidency, it is highly unlikely that Jeffries will agree to concede to a Republican candidate without substantial concessions.

Jeffries said Democrats would join Republicans in electing a president only if they agreed to change House rules to allow “governance by consensus”; in other words, allowing bills with bipartisan support to reach the floor. The Rules Committee, which determines what legislation is voted on, is now structured so that Republicans have full control of the bills the House considers. That means Democratic priorities are almost always blocked, and the far right effectively has veto power over what gets considered and what doesn’t.

Jeffries said on Oct. 15 that “informal discussions have taken place” but has since declined to offer details about what a power-sharing deal would look like.

Does the Chamber continue to work without a president?

Rep. Patrick McHenry will serve as temporary speaker until the position is filled.Credit…Haiyun Jiang for The New York Times

Legislative business in the House has ground to a halt as Republicans struggle to unite behind a president. That includes working on legislation to fund the government and avoid a shutdown that will begin in mid-November if no action is taken. Also frozen is any consideration of an aid package to Israel, something President Biden has said is an urgent priority after the Hamas terrorist group launched one of the widest incursions into Israeli territory in 50 years.

Is there a way for the House to function without an elected speaker?

Representative Patrick T. McHenry of North Carolina serves as speaker pro tempore, a position created after the attacks of September 11, 2001, to ensure continuity of government in the event the president is assassinated or incapacitated. The position has never been tested, and until now, McHenry and House aides have interpreted the role very narrowly, simply as an incumbent presiding over the election of a new president.

Some more centrist Republican lawmakers had been working on a resolution that would explicitly give McHenry the power to introduce legislation, giving her nascent role more clearly defined authority.

Doing so would require a vote.

Republicans debated holding an intraparty vote on the issue last week, but a wide swath of lawmakers said they opposed such a move, so it was ultimately shelved. Empowering McHenry, one of McCarthy’s closest allies, was seen by many on the far right as equivalent to reinstating McCarthy as president.

But the resolution could be put to a vote again, particularly if Republicans are unable to elect a president as the government shutdown deadline approaches. It’s also unclear whether Democrats would support him unless they committed to addressing his legislative priorities.

Another option would be for McHenry to simply try to introduce a bill, and if a lawmaker questioned his power to do so, the issue would come up for a vote in the House. If an overwhelming majority were in favor of such a measure (for example, one that would provide aid to Israel or keep government funds flowing to avoid a shutdown), the House could act.

Lucas Broadwater contributed with reports.

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