Republicans restart process to choose speaker nominee

Washington, Oct 23 (EFE).- The Republican Party on Monday restarted the process of selecting its candidate for speaker of the United States House of Representatives, after two failed attempts last week.

Nine lawmakers are running for the post, which has been vacant since the dismissal on Oct. 3 of fellow Republican Kevin McCarthy, following a motion against him filed by the far-right Matt Gaetz of the same party.

Initially, the Republicans chose the current “number two” in the House, Steve Scalise, as their candidate, but he withdrew before the vote in the plenary session, realizing that he would not have the necessary support.

The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jim Jordan, succeeded him in that race, but he eventually abandoned that ambition after the internal boycott of about twenty of his caucus colleagues twice prevented him from being elected.

In Tuesday’s floor vote, he received 200 supporters, 17 fewer than he needed; on Wednesday, he received 199; and on Friday, the number dropped to 194, forcing him to withdraw as a candidate.

The deadline to run within the Republican ranks ended Sunday at noon, and nine lawmakers came forward, including Austin Scott, who had already run against Jordan but lost in the internal vote.

Scott and the “number 3” of the Republicans in the lower house, Tom Emmer, are the only two of the nine candidates who voted in favor of certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election, in which Democrat Joe Biden won over Republican Donald Trump (2017-2021), who was then the tenant of the White House.

Emmer is also the only one in favor of gay marriage, and one of the four – along with Scott, Pete Sessions and Jack Bergman – in favor of continuing to provide aid to Ukraine, at a time when voices in the Republican side oppose what they refer to as a “blank check.”

The list of candidates also includes Kevin Hern, Byron Donalds, Mike Johnson, Dan Meuser and Gary Palmer.

On Monday, Republican lawmakers will hold a retreat where each candidate will present their candidacy with an opening statement followed by a question and answer session and a closing statement.

On Tuesday, the internal vote will take place to decide who will run again for the position and face current Democratic Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, who has the support of his entire caucus.

“Pathetic doesn’t begin to describe the state of House Republicans, who, after taking the weekend off, will begin and end their 20th day of infighting without a speaker”, said on Monday Sarafina Chitika, spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee.

“At a critical moment when our allies are looking to us for leadership, MAGA House Republicans are making a mockery of our government and embarrassing the country on the world stage,” she added.

The interim presidency is in the hands of the conservative Patrick McHenry, but until there is a new speaker no new resolutions or bills can be approved at a time when the budgets for the current fiscal year must be closed and when the authorization of more aid to Ukraine or Israel is pending. EFE


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