Republican Representative of Minnesota Tom Emmer (C) after attending a meeting of the House Republican Conference, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, USA, 16 October 2023. EFE/EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

Nine US congressmen seek Republican nomination for Speaker of the House

Washington, Oct 22 (EFE).- Republican lawmakers had until noon Sunday to present their candidacy to become the next speaker of the United States House of Representatives. Nine put their names forward.

Among the hopefuls for the post, which has been vacant since October 3, is the assistant majority leader, also known as the whip, Tom Emmer.

The lawmaker, who represents Minnesota’s 6th District, already has the support of Kevin McCarthy, the former House speaker, who was recalled in a historic vote earlier this month.

In an interview with NBC on Sunday, McCarthy endorsed Emmer, saying he he “understands how to do this job.”

However, it is not yet clear whether the more radical wing of the Republican Party, members of the Freedom Caucus, will support Emmer, according to sources consulted by CNN.

Even more so when a representative of the ultra-conservative caucus, Byron Donalds, is also running for the Republican nomination.

One of only four African-American members of the House Republican caucus, Donalds said last Friday that his priorities, if elected, would be securing the border, passing responsible government budgets and promoting a conservative agenda in the House.

The other seven lawmakers seeking the Republican nomination are Jack Bergman, Kevin Hern, Mike Johnson, Dan Meuser, Gary Palmer, Austin Scott and Pete Sessions.

Steps ahead

Now that the candidates’ names are on the table, House Republicans will hold a closed-door meeting to discuss who they will choose as their nominee.

This new round of deliberation and voting comes after Representative Jim Jordan failed to secure enough votes to win the nomination on Friday.

The decision to withdraw the candidacy of Jordan, who is close to former President Donald Trump (2017-2021), was made in an internal meeting of conservatives after Jordan only received 194 of the 215 votes needed on Friday.

Twenty-five of his colleagues supported candidates who did not even run.

The lower house has been without a speaker for more than two weeks, after McCarthy was ousted following a motion against him filed by radical Matt Gaetz of his own party.

On the Democratic side, Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries won the full support of the Democrats in the first two rounds of voting, but this is not enough to be elected.

The internal presidency is temporarily in the hands of conservative Patrick McHenry, appointed by McCarthy, but as long as there is no formal speaker, no new resolutions or bills can be passed.

The blockade of the lower house comes at a time when the budget for the current fiscal year has yet to be approved and when US President Joe Biden has just asked Congress to approve more than $100 billion for security needs, including $14.3 billion in aid to Israel and a new $61.4 billion package for Ukraine. EFE