CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — After 13 votes over the course of four days, the U.S. House of Representatives has not determined who will be named Speaker of the House.
While officials are expected to reconvene Friday evening in Washington D.C. as lawmakers get closer to naming a person to the position, the process over the last four days has been historic, with various politicians being considered for the position.
Throughout the 13 votes, according to previous reports by MyHighPlains.com, Democrats have stayed the course, voting for U.S. Rep. Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) in each of the 13 contests.
However, the split has come in the Republican Party, with around 90% of Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives voting U.S. Rep. GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to be Speaker of the House. But the rest of the party has brought up and voted for other Republicans for the position over the last four days, including U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Florida), U.S. Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Oklahoma) and even former President Donald J. Trump.
According to previous reports, this Speaker of the House process is the first time in 100 years that it took more than one vote. The last time it went through multiple rounds was in 1923.
Dave Rausch, the Bivins Professor of Political Science at West Texas A&M University, said he has been keeping very close tabs on the votes throughout the last four days. Rausch said some of the fascinating parts to him is how each of the sides has been voting, with the Democrats continuing to vote for Jeffries, many of the Republicans voting for McCarthy and then a handful of Republicans voting for other individuals.
Rausch said one of the troubling things about the Republican lawmakers who have split from the majority is that they have not been clear on who should be the speaker instead, voting for a number of people instead of focusing on just one, including individuals who are not currently in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“Now they claim they do have a plan, but they don’t tell us what it is,” he said. “…Do they not have a plan? I don’t know if they do. Again if they do, they haven’t told us what it is.”
Rausch said that the Constitution does not require a Speaker of the House to be an elected representative, which gave U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Florida) the ability to nominate Trump. Rausch said that in previous years, individuals like Colin Powell were nominated to be Speaker of the House.
However, Rausch did say that without the U.S. House of Representatives functioning, with each of the members being referred to as “representative-elect,” the overall government will start to be impacted sooner rather than later. The clerk is serving as the leader of the body until the new Speaker of the House is elected.
“There’ll be a problem because you might remember that the House is the one that starts all appropriations,” Rausch said, “and so if the President wants to keep getting paid, he needs to house to be in session, to be actually doing House stuff. So yeah, this is a bit traumatic, I guess.”
However, with the implementation of the 25th Amendment in the U.S. Constitution, which gives the President the ability to nominate a Vice President, the line of succession, which the Speaker of the House is third in line to, should not be impacted, according to Rausch, something that was different 100 years ago when it took multiple rounds to name a Speaker of the House.
In 1923, Rausch said it took so long to name a Speaker of the House because of the transition the United States was in at that time after World War I and overall issues with that current Speaker of the House.
As to Rausch’s predictions on how 2023’s Speaker of the House process will end, he believes McCarthy will be named to the position. However, he said he does not know if this process will be conducted again later this year if a lawmaker raises an issue against the person serving as the Speaker of the House.
“If there’s just one person who feels like Speaker McCarthy is siding too much with the Democrats or working with the Democrats, they can come in and say there’s a vacancy,” Rausch said.
But overall, Rausch stressed that this process continues to be important, no matter how long it goes.
“If a student were to ask me, the one thing I would tell them, and I tell them all the time: elections matter,” he said. “Had the Republicans won a lot more seats, this wouldn’t be an issue. It just so happens, the Republicans had a certain former president who got a little too involved in the primaries… (The Republican Party is) at a turning point. I’m always fond of the Yogi Berra quote, ‘When you reach the fork in the road, take it…’ That’s a question there’ll be answering, or trying to answer, over the next two years.”
Members of the U.S. House of Representatives are expected to reconvene at 9 p.m. CST Friday for the 14th vote for who should be named Speaker of the House. As evidenced by the 12th and 13th votes, McCarthy has picked up momentum, according to reports from The Hill.
During Friday’s votes, McCarthy has gained 15 Republican votes who previously voted against him in the Speaker of the House vote, including Donalds’s vote and the votes of U.S. Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) and U.S. Rep-elect Anna Paulina Luna (R-Florida). However, six holdouts remain, including Gaetz and U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colorado.)
U.S. Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez (D-N.M.-District 3) told MyHighPlains.com on Tuesday that she expects Democrats to continue voting the same way throughout the entirety of the Speaker of the House process.
“I was elected in 2020. We have seen a lot of history, the class of 2020,” she said. “We stayed here until the wee hours of the next day after January 6. We’re going to do the same thing tonight. We will always be on the floor, voting our values, whether it takes us until the next day or the following. We are committed to the American people to always do what’s right for them and it doesn’t matter how long that takes.”
This is a developing story. MyHighPlains.com will update this article as new information becomes available.
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