GOP scrambles for House speaker as candidate deadline passes: ‘I don’t care, just pick someone’

Nearly three weeks have passed since Kevin McCarthy was ousted from Speaker leaving the House in legislative paralysis

Ariana Baio
Sunday 22 October 2023 19:23 BST
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Chris Christie urges House Republicans to ‘make a decision’ about new speaker

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

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A fresh batch of Republicans in the House of Representatives have put themselves forward for speaker as the noon deadline to enter the race passed on Sunday.

Frustrations are growing, even among leading Republicans, as the branch of Congress enters its third week without a Speaker of the House and in a state of legislative paralysis.

By noon, Representatives Tom Emmer, Austin Scott, Bryon Donalds, Kevin Hern, Jack Bergman, Mike Johnson, Pete Sessions, Gary Palmer and Dan Meuser had all announced their intent to run for the speakership.

The potential speakers will now begin the process of making calls to colleagues to try to drum up support before the House GOP decides on which candidate to back in a closed-door conference.

The new candidates emerge after far-right Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio failed to get enough votes for the third time in his bid to become speaker on Friday.

Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH) (C) talks to a staff member and Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH) (R) while former Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) laughs
Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH) (C) talks to a staff member and Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH) (R) while former Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) laughs (Getty Images)

Mr Jordan’s triple failure came after moderate Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana also failed to gain a majority of support from the caucus.

The deadlock has led to an unprecedented situation in the House leaving it unable to pass any bills at a time when the US is trying to support Israel and Palestinian civilians in the Israel-Hamas conflict as well as assist Ukraine against the Russian invasion with a proposed $105-billion package.

Chris Christie, a 2024 Republican presidential candidate, voiced the frustrations of many at a campaign event this weekend telling potential voters he has no preference on who the party picks.

“I don’t care, just pick someone because Israel needs help, Ukraine needs help, our Southern border needs to be secured and Taiwan needs to be armed now so we’re not catching up later,” Mr Christie said.

“All those things need to be done and instead we’re arguing over, you know, who’s going to get the big office with the view of the National Mall to make sure their ego is ok. Make a decision, be done already,” he added.

Some Republicans also appear to be growing tired of the seemingly endless fight, calling the failed elections “embarrassing” and a potential security threat.

Rep Michael McCaul of Texas even indicated the possibility of a speaker deal that crosses party lines.

“I’d rather it be the Republicans nominating and voting on the floor for a Republican speaker but this can’t go on forever,” he told ABC.

It is unclear when the next official chamber vote will take place, though it will likely be sometime this week.

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