House Republicans set up a nine-man contest for the speaker’s post on Sunday, signaling what may be a drawn-out vote to fill the vacancy this week.
(Bloomberg) — House Republicans set up a nine-man contest for the speaker’s post on Sunday, signaling what may be a drawn-out vote to fill the vacancy this week.
Candidates announced by a noon deadline in Washington include Representative Tom Emmer, an ally of ousted former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, former Rules Committee chairman Pete Sessions and Representative Mike Johnson, vice chairman of the GOP party conference in the chamber. House Budget Chairman Jodey Arrington said Sunday he had decided against running.
Republicans will return to Washington on Monday for a speaker’s candidates forum at 6:30 p.m. and will start the election process Tuesday, according to Representative Patrick McHenry, the speaker pro tempore.
McCarthy’s ouster on Oct. 3, instigated by a group of right-wing Republican dissidents, has hamstrung Congress and prompted consternation in Washington and abroad. Fiscal priorities are halted, including President Joe Biden’s emergency funding request for almost $106 billion that includes aid to Ukraine and Israel.
In mid-November, the US faces its next funding deadline, meaning Congress must reach a spending agreement or risk a government shutdown.
McCarthy endorsed Emmer for speaker last week and made a pitch for his ally on Sunday, calling the deadlock in his caucus “embarrassing.”
“We need to get him elected this week, and move on, and bring not just party together; but focus on what this country needs most,” he said on NBC’s Meet the Press, while conceding “it’s going to be an uphill battle.”
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Emmer has had tense relations with supporters of former President Donald Trump, in part because he voted to certify Biden’s 2020 election victory. Trump opposes Emmer’s candidacy, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Other candidates include Representative Kevin Hern, who chairs the 176-member Republican Study Committee. He could win over some moderates wary of Representative Jim Jordan, whose bid for the speakership — one of two since McCarthy’s ouster — collapsed last week.
The gap between the conservative and moderate members has been amplified by disagreements on spending and culture-war issues.
Read more: Top Republicans Emmer, Johnson Join Wide-Open Speakership Race
Arrington, who had been weighing a candidacy, said the biggest threat to the GOP’s agenda is internal disunity.
“There are several capable candidates who have stepped forward to run, and I plan to support whomever our conference elects on Tuesday,” Arrington said in a post on X.
–With assistance from Billy House.
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