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Thursday, February 2, 2023

US Congress: Continuation in the election drama – No majority for McCarthy

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Kevin McCarthy suffered a humiliating defeat on Tuesday: he failed the election to chair the House of Representatives three times – and the following day still lacked the necessary support.

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The series of defeats for Kevin McCarthy continues: The Republican has failed at the sixth attempt in the election for chairman of the House of Representatives. This resulted from the result of the oral vote on Wednesday, which still had to be formally confirmed by the head of the session in the parliamentary chamber.

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This time, too, the Republicans had set up Congressman Byron Donalds as the opposing candidate. The Republican received another 20 votes in the oral vote. “This city is broken. And I want to fix it,” Republican Assemblyman Scott Perry said before the vote. You couldn’t do that if you just lined up and did what everyone else had done before you. Therefore, he nominates Donalds as an opposing candidate.

McCarthy had already missed the required majority in the election as chairman of the parliamentary chamber three times on Tuesday because various party colleagues refused to support him. The anti-McCarthy camp put forward several alternative candidates – as a sign of their resistance. For the 57-year-old, this is a historic defeat and a public exposure. It is the first time in a hundred years that the election has required more than one attempt and that a parliamentary group has not elected its candidate to office in the first round.

Trump calls on Republicans to vote for McCarthy

On Wednesday, Donald Trump intervened and called on his party colleagues to avoid losing face and to elect McCarthy to the post. Speaking on social media platform Truth Social, which he co-founded, the ex-president wrote: “We had some really good conversations last night and now it’s time for all of our great Republicans to vote for Kevin.”

He appealed to his party colleagues: “Don’t turn a great triumph into a huge and embarrassing defeat.” McCarthy will do a good job, “and maybe even a great one.”

Trump had already expressed his support for McCarthy before the election, but this did not prevent the campaign against him. His renewed appeal failed to impress the party’s internal rebels, which is yet another sign of Trump’s waning influence within the Republican Party.

Biden calls Republican election drama embarrassing

US President Joe Biden criticized the Republicans’ election drama in the Congress Chamber. “It’s not my problem. I just find it a bit embarrassing that it’s taking so long,” said the President in Washington. The rest of the world is watching. “I’m focused on getting things done,” the Democrat said. During a visit to the state of Kentucky afterwards, Biden conspicuously emphasized the need for bipartisan cooperation and embodied close ties with Chief Senate Republican Mitch McConnell, who is based in Kentucky and attended Biden’s visit.

After the parliamentary elections in November, Congress met for the first time in a new constellation on Tuesday. The Republicans took control of the House of Representatives – in the Senate, Biden’s Democrats still have a narrow majority. In the coming years, Biden will therefore be more dependent than before on cooperation with the Republicans, since they can block legislative projects at will with their majority in the House of Representatives. However, it is unclear whether there will even be a common line among them in view of the complete internal disorganization.

In view of the election debacle, nothing is going on in the House of Representatives for the time being. Until the presidency is clarified, the Chamber of Congress cannot begin its work, not even the new MPs can be sworn in.

McCarthy could possibly try to start negotiations with the Democrats. They could help him win the elections by abstaining in their ranks, for example, because that would reduce the number of votes needed. It would also be possible for a new candidate to be put forward that a majority of Republicans could agree on. But talks with the Democrats about a consensus candidate that they would support would also be conceivable. A way out was initially unclear.

Source: Stern

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