House Speaker Election has Commenced

Image Commercially Licensed from: Depositphotos
Image Commercially Licensed from: Depositphotos

The 118th Congress has begun voting for the next House Speaker, with Republican Kevin McCarthy and Democrat Representative Hakeem Jeffries at the top of the contest.

Republican Representative Andy Biggs is another contender for House Speaker. To be elected House Speaker, a nominee must get majority votes. However, depending on how each member of Congress votes, the barrier might be reduced.

Members of Congress will be summoned individually and asked to indicate who they wish to vote for as House Speaker. It might be their name, a name from each party’s chosen candidate, or any other name in Congress or present. When a member says ‘present,’ it is not tallied and is automatically taken from the majority threshold.

If no one receives a majority of the votes, a second ballot is cast, and so on, until a majority vote is obtained. For example, the House Speaker election in 1923 went nine rounds before a House Speaker was chosen. In 1869, the poll went through 60 rounds over two months.

In the event of a lengthy election, Congress may choose to take a break before voting again. However, the House cannot proceed with any business until a House Speaker is elected.

McCarthy (GOP) and Jeffries (Democrat) are nominated lawmakers on the front lines of the voting process. McCarthy has been nominated for House Speaker by Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik. Meanwhile, Democratic Representative Pete Aguilar rose from his seat and nominated Jeffries for House Speaker.

“We are unified behind a speaker who is an unapologetic advocate for protecting and expanding our freedom. He does not traffic in extremism. He does not grovel to or make excuses for a twice-impeached so-called former president. Madam clerk, he does not bend a knee to anyone who would seek to undermine our democracy,” Aguilar said.

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McCarthy to push through House Speaker bid

McCarthy addressed the press during a meeting with GOP lawmakers before the commencement of the 118th Congress, announcing his candidacy for House Speaker. He criticizes opponents and declares that he would run for House Speaker not for himself but for the country’s sake.

“There’s times we’re going to have to argue with our own members if they’re looking out for only positions for themselves, not for the country. For the last two months, we worked together as a whole conference to develop rules that empower all members, but we’re not empowering certain members over others,” McCarthy said.

“I was presented the only way to have 218 votes — if I provided certain members with certain positions, certain gavels to take over the certain committee to have certain budgets. And they even came to the position where one Matt Gaetz said, ‘I don’t care if we go to plurality and we elect Hakeem Jeffries,’ and it hurts the new frontline members not to get reelected,” he added.

“Well, that’s not about America, and I will always fight to put the American people first. Not a few individuals want something for themselves. So we may have a battle on the floor. But the battle is for the conference and the country, and that’s fine with me.”

“I have the record for the longest speech ever on the floor. I don’t have a problem getting a record for the most votes for speaker.”

However, there were reports that McCarthy would not be able to garner the necessary votes to become House Speaker. If the race for House Speaker goes to a second round, the Republicans may replace McCarthy with the number two contender, Representative Steve Scalise. On the other hand, Scalise has already stated his support for McCarthy.

“Steve is trying to be very supportive. He has been public that he is supporting McCarthy. I think someday he wants to be speaker, so he’s got to be tactful,” said Representative Don Bacon.

“I think Steve Scalise is going to have some problems. If Kevin McCarthy doesn’t become speaker, then Steve Scalise has faint fingerprints on the dagger,” added a GOP member.

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The support from the Democratic Party

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi indicated publicly some months ago that she would step down as Democratic Party leader. As a result, she ruled out any possibility of retaining the House Speakership. Members of the Democratic Party actively endorsed Jeffries in the aftermath of her retirement, stating their belief that he would be an ideal alternative for Pelosi.

“If she steps aside, I’m very clear that Hakeem Jeffries is the person I will be voting for and leading the Congressional Black Caucus to vote for. Of course, I don’t always speak for everybody, but I’m very comfortable saying I believe that every member of the Congressional Black Caucus would vote for Hakeem Jeffries,” said Ohio representative Joyce Beatty.

“Nonetheless, a great deal is at stake because we’ll be in a presidential election. So my decision will again be rooted in the wishes of my family and the wishes of my caucus. But none of it will be very much considered until we see what the outcome of all of this is. And there are all kinds of ways to exert influence,” she added.




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