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HomenewsUS Republicans pick Tom Emmer as latest nominee for House speaker

US Republicans pick Tom Emmer as latest nominee for House speaker

Republicans in the United States House of Representatives have selected Tom Emmer as their latest nominee for speaker but ran headlong into the same internal divisions that have paralysed the leaderless chamber for three weeks.

Emmer, who serves as the number three Republican in the House, secured the nomination after five rounds of voting but appeared to be at least 20 votes short of the 217 he will need to win the speaker’s gavel in a vote in the full chamber, lawmakers said on Tuesday.

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“We’re going to have a discussion where he’s asking people to come to the mic and explain, you know, what your position is,” Representative Randy Weber told reporters on Tuesday.

Responding to a question about how long such an effort could take, Weber joked: “Until tomorrow morning, maybe, it sounds like. I just want to know if he’s going to have bed rolls, cinnamon rolls and coffee.”

The House has been paralysed for three weeks after Republicans took the unusual step of ousting their own speaker over internal disagreements, leaving the body unable to vote on key proposals at a time when the US is faced with war in Ukraine and the Middle East.

Infighting within the party has combined with its slim majority in the House to create an impasse that no candidates thus far have been able to break.

Emmer won the most recent round of voting to become the party’s nominee, beating out eight other contenders. But he will now have to win the support of 217 of the chamber’s 221 Republicans to secure the position.

All 212 House Democrats are expected to vote against Emmer because it is unusual in US politics for an opposition party to vote for the rival party’s nominee for speaker, leaving the Minnesota congressman little room for dissent within his own caucus.

The drama began on October 3 when a small faction of Republicans ousted former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Last week, hard-right nominee Jim Jordan was dropped after failing to achieve a majority after three rounds of voting.

The weeks of turmoil have created a political headache for the Republican Party with its Democratic rivals portraying it as incapable of fulfilling basic government functions as President Joe Biden’s administration faces rising tensions in the Middle East with a war between Israel and Hamas.

“Washington, DC, needs a Republican voice right now. We don’t have one,” Republican Representative Kelly Armstrong told reporters. “That’s not anybody else’s fault but the Republican conference in the US House of Representatives.”

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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