US house set to hold 4th vote to elect speaker

24 Oct 2023 10:58am
US Representative Austin Scott (R-TX) speaks with reporters following a House Republicans caucus meeting at the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC - AFP
US Representative Austin Scott (R-TX) speaks with reporters following a House Republicans caucus meeting at the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC - AFP
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WASHINGTON - The US House of Representatives is set to hold a fourth floor vote to elect a speaker on Tuesday, reported Sputnik.

On October 3, House lawmakers ousted Congressman Kevin McCarthy as speaker in a historic first, leaving the lower chamber leaderless ahead of a government funding deadline and calls for new foreign aid packages.

The House of Representatives is limited in its ability to pass bills or conduct other normal legislative business until they elect a new speaker. Some lawmakers have also proposed empowering temporary speaker pro tempore Patrick McHenry, although other members of Congress have questioned the constitutionality of such a move.

House Republicans initially nominated Majority Leader Steve Scalise as their speaker-designate, but the congressman dropped out of the race after failing to secure enough support behind the scenes to pass a floor vote. House Republicans then nominated Congressman Jim Jordan, who failed to win the speakership after three floor votes last week.

House Republicans began a forum for new speaker nominees Monday evening. The House Republican conference was hearing from eight candidates during the forum, before holding a vote to select a nominee on Tuesday at 9:00 a.m. ET.

House Republicans intend to hold a floor vote to elect a speaker on Tuesday after the conference selects its nominee, although the timeline largely depends on the outcome of the candidate forum Monday evening, a congressional source told Sputnik.

Candidates include congressmen Jack Bergman, Byron Donalds, Tom Emmer, Kevin Hern, Mike Johnson, Gary Palmer, Austin Scott and Pete Sessions. Whomever House Republicans nominate as speaker must then secure a majority of votes on the House floor.

As of around 9:00 p.m. ET on Monday, Emmer and Donalds had early leads, according to data released by CNN reporter Haley Talbot, although it appeared like there was a long way to go. Donalds had won the backing of eight Republicans while Emmer had seven.

Republicans hold a 221-212 majority in the House of Representatives, leaving the party little room to split their votes. House Democrats have unified behind Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, who has thrice won a plurality of support during floor votes.
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The US Congress must pass government funding legislation before November 17 or the government will shut down. The Biden administration has also requested US$106 billion in supplemental funding for border security, Israel and Ukraine.

Former US President Donald Trump said on Monday that he is attempting to stay out of the race for speaker as much as possible, adding that he believes House Republicans will get the issue "straightened out." -BERNAMA

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