The great favorite to replace the Democrat Nancy Pelosi is the Republican Kevin McCarthy, but a core of about 20 congressmen from the most conservative wing blocks his choice in the chamber.
This small but intransigent group wants to take advantage of the fact that the party only has a slim majority after the mid-term elections in November to impose its conditions.
Without your support, McCarthy cannot be elected.
The United States wants “a new face, a new vision, a new leadership,” said one of them, Chip Roy of Texas.
McCarthy, 57, has acceded to many of the group’s requests, but remains deadlocked.
Not even Trump’s intervention this Wednesday seems to make them change their minds.
On his social network, the former president asked the party to “avoid a shameful defeat.”
“It is time for all of our great Republican members of the House to vote for Kevin” because “he will do a good job, and maybe even a great job,” he posted.
But the opposition seems to crystallize.
There is no compelling rival to shadow McCarthy, with a seat for California. The only name that circulates as a possible alternative is that of the head of the Republican group, Steve Scalise, but for the moment without much possibility.
Among the non-refractory, a certain unease begins to be perceived.
“This all seems messy,” admitted Mike Gallagher, who is very close to McCarthy. “But democracy is messy, it’s a feature, not a bug of our system.”
The election of the president of the Lower House, known as “speaker”, the third most important position in US politics after the presidency and vice presidency, requires a majority of 218 votes, but McCarthy did not exceed 203.
This situation, unprecedented in the last 100 years, completely paralyzes the institution. Without the speaker of the chamber, congressmen cannot take the oath and therefore pass any bill.
Nor can the Republicans open the many investigations they had promised against the president, Democrat Joe Biden.
The situation is “shameful,” said Biden, who warned that “the rest of the world” is watching the situation closely.
Between sarcastic laughter and applause, the Democrats seem to have fun during the votes on the floor.
Biden’s party is united around the candidacy of Hakeem Jeffries, but this congressman also does not have enough votes to be elected.
Voting will continue until a president comes out, something that can take hours or weeks, as happened in 1856, when it took two months and 133 rounds.
A hostile but divided chamber could be bliss for Biden if he confirms his intention to run for president again in 2024, a decision he is expected to announce earlier this year.
The Democratic president traveled to Kentucky this Wednesday to praise the construction of a new great bridge financed with a pharaonic infrastructure law that he carried out in part with some Republican votes in Congress.
Ironically, he was accompanied by the leader of the Republicans in the Upper House of Congress, Senator Mitch McConnell.
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