Divided House Republicans Meet Yet Again to Choose a Speaker newsbhunt


House Republicans are meeting on Tuesday to vote — yet again — on a nominee for speaker, as the party feud that has paralyzed the chamber enters its third week.

Eight Republicans are now vying for the post, reflecting the deep divisions within the House G.O.P. The party was expected to meet at 9 a.m. and remain cloistered behind closed doors for much of the day grinding through multiple rounds of voting by secret ballot to try to coalesce around one of them, eliminating the lowest vote-getter each time.

If a nominee is chosen, a House floor vote could occur as soon as Tuesday afternoon, but there is no guarantee that the winner will have the 217 votes necessary to be elected, a threshold that has eluded the last two nominees.

“I don’t think anybody has that now,” Representative Byron Donalds of Florida, one of the candidates, said on Monday night. “I think we’re going to have to work to that.”

The House has remained frozen since Oct. 3, when hard-right rebels forced a vote to oust Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Eight Republicans backed that move along with Democrats, who remained united behind their own leader, Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York. In the weeks since, Republicans have tried and failed repeatedly to rally around a successor, even as wars rage overseas and a government shutdown looms.

“While I wouldn’t have done the vacate, we’ve done it — here we are,” said Representative Chip Roy of Texas, referring to the motion to remove Mr. McCarthy. “The American people are seeing this and we’re going through candidates and we’re going to run and see who we want to get behind.”

Among the front-runners for speaker are Representative Tom Emmer of Minnesota, the Republican whip; Mr. Donalds, a charismatic younger member of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus; Representative Kevin Hern of Oklahoma, the chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee; and Representative Mike Johnson of Louisiana, an evangelical Christian and a lawyer who plays a prominent role on the Judiciary Committee.

Mr. Donalds said on Monday that he would be working through the evening to try to garner more votes.

“We need to get back to work,” he said. “We need to get our bills done. We have to continue to fight for securing our border.” He added, “I think I’m the member that can help us get our conference united.”

Other contenders include Representative Gary Palmer of Alabama, who is the chairman of the Republican Policy Committee and the No. 5 House Republican; Representative Jack Bergman of Michigan, a retired Marine Corps lieutenant general; Representative Austin Scott of Georgia, who mounted a surprise challenge for speaker last week; and Representative Pete Sessions of Texas, the former chairman of the Rules Committee.

“We’ve got a good group of folks across our whole conference,” said Representative Mike Garcia of California, who represents a district won by President Biden. “These eight or nine are great candidates, but the reality is there’s probably three or four that are in better position than the others. We’ll open that black box tomorrow.”

Mr. Garcia said he was supporting Mr. Emmer because he voted to keep the government open, unlike some of his competitors. Having a leader who “is not intentionally driving the government toward a shutdown is important to me,” Mr. Garcia said.

One lesser-known candidate, Representative Dan Meuser of Pennsylvania, dropped out on Monday evening as discussions got underway on the next nominee.

Mr. Meuser said his constituents were raging and wanted the House to get back to work.

“The American people — my constituents — are furious,” he said. “They are frustrated, they are angry. They’re not blaming any just the eight, they’re not blaming Joe Biden. They’re blaming us, they’re blaming me.”

All of the candidates in the race except for two — Mr. Emmer and Mr. Scott — voted to object to certifying Mr. Biden’s 2020 victory in at least one state.

All but three of them — Mr. Hern, Mr. Johnson and Mr. Palmer — voted in support of a stopgap spending bill put forward by Mr. McCarthy, the speaker at the time, to avert a shutdown. Mr. Donalds was absent for the vote.

Catie Edmondson, Robert Jimison and Kayla Guo contributed reporting.


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