Former speaker Rep. Kevin McCarthy has stated that the House is essentially paralyzed until a new speaker is elected, and believes that this process could take some time.
Meanwhile, lawmakers have been expressing support for Israel following a surprise attack from the terrorist group Hamas, which caught the Jewish state off-guard and led to a declaration of war from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
President Biden, in a call with Mr. Netanyahu, has pledged the United States’ “all means of appropriate support” to Israel. However, any legislative action from the House in support of Israel, such as a resolution or funding, is currently stalled due to the absence of a Speaker of the House.
Speaking to Fox News, McCarthy said, “There is nothing the House can do until they elect a speaker and I don’t know if that happens quickly.” He also questioned the rationale of removing a speaker during a term, as it would raise doubts globally.
McCarthy was recently removed from his position as speaker after eight Republicans joined all Democrats in passing a motion to vacate him from the speakership.
The same eight rebels, led by Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, have publicly condemned the attacks on Israel. Rep. Tim Burchett of Tennessee has gone a step further, calling for sanctions on the terrorist organization. While Congress can create sanctions, it is typically the president who imposes them.
Rep. Kevin Hern of Oklahoma has announced that he is dropping out of contention for the speakership. This leaves House Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana and Rep. Jim Jordan as the remaining candidates for the position.
Although more than a quarter of lawmakers have expressed support for either candidate, neither is a clear favorite according to The Washington Times whip count.
Temporary speaker Rep. Patrick McHenry has scheduled a candidate forum for Tuesday, where Scalise and Jordan are expected to make their pitch to their colleagues. Republican lawmakers could vote for a nominee by Wednesday.
However, the group of eight GOP lawmakers has not yet publicly endorsed a candidate, which could result in another prolonged speaker battle like the one McCarthy experienced in January.