The former Speaker of the House (the Speaker), Kevin MacCarthy, was removed from office by 8 Republicans. The timing could not be worse…
by A. Altieri D’Angelo
Photo: Kevin McCarthy, credit US House Photography
The world is focused on the horrendous and brutal Hamas attack, murder, and kidnapping of Israeli citizens, and the onslaught occurs when Ukraine struggles to defeat similar vicious actions by Russia.
Democracies everywhere are facing increasing threats to their way of life. It is a time when U.S. leadership and support is desperately needed. Unfortunately, due to the self-centered actions of several Republican members of the House of Representatives (the House), the U.S. cannot provide new aid to Israel or Ukraine.
And to make matters worse, the U.S. is facing another government shutdown in a few weeks. Such a shutdown coming amid these international crises will have a devasting effect not only on the U.S. and global economies but also on the morale of the country and its partners. The cause is the inability of the House Republican majority to elect a new speaker of the House.
The former Speaker of the House (the Speaker), Kevin MacCarthy, was removed from office by 8 Republicans. As a general rule, the Party in power, the Republicans, would have no problem electing the Speaker. They would not need Democratic Party support to approve any measure. But the Republicans have a very slim majority; they hold 222 seats and need 218 to achieve a majority on any vote. Therefore, having more than four Republican votes against McCarthy was enough to unseat him.
The 8 votes against McCarthy came from the far-right wing of the Republican Party (the MAGAs). Once the House lost its Speaker, it could not continue business as usual; it was effectively shut down until a new Speaker was elected. With the loss of the Speaker, the U.S. lost its ability to react to new situations.
The timing could not be worse. The House, U.S. Senate, and the Executive branch must agree on a spending bill by mid-November. With an agreement, the government will continue functioning, and employees will be paid. Also, there is a critical need to provide additional funding for Ukraine and Israel. Nothing can happen because 8 Republicans decided to put their petty interests above that of the country. It is genuinely the tyranny of the minority.
House Republicans have tried twice to nominate a successful candidate. The first was Steve Scalise, the 2nd ranking member of the Republican Party in the House. He won a majority of the Republican Party votes but failed to obtain the support of the entire Republican House vote. Scalise withdrew, and Jim Jordan stepped in. Jordan leads the impeachment hearings. He also won a majority vote to be nominated by his Party as Speaker, but he needs @218 votes. He does not have the votes. The only other possible candidate is Hakim Jeffries, the Democratic Minority leader. He has the total support of the Democrats in the House, but they only have 212 votes.
It is an unbelievable failure on the part of the Republican Party. They are unable to speak with one voice and with good reason. The MAGAs are more interested in being on Fox News than legislating. They do not care about the country, just their Facebook profiles. What is sad is that a simple solution is staring Republicans in the face. If the needs of the U.S. were essential to them, they would negotiate a power-sharing arrangement with the Democrats. Such an arrangement could last as long as the parties needed to decide on crucial matters such as government spending, Ukraine, and Israel. Or, it could last until the November 2024 election. Both sides would come to an understanding as to what would be brought up for a vote and share power. This approach has been used before.
In World War 2, Winston Churchill invited Clement Attlee, the leader of the opposition Labor Party at the time, to join his Cabinet. Churchill realized he needed a unified government to fight the war. The Cabinet was disbanded as soon as the war ended; it served its purpose. Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s Prime Minister, formed a unity government to focus on the war with Hamas; he asked Benny Gantz, the dissenting centrist party leader, to join his government. They will share power and focus on war issues; no other legislative issues will be considered unless such are linked to the war. In both cases, the parties were not friends and, in fact, fierce competitors. But they put the interests of their people and government ahead of their ambitions. One would hope the Republicans would do the same. But despite the approach of a government shutdown, Ukraine running out of ammunition, and aiding Israel, the Republicans continue to fight amongst themselves. It is beyond pathetic and childish.