Gridlock in US Congress over Speaker election raises national security fears

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Gridlock in US Congress over Speaker election raises national security fears

The US Congress was plunged into an unprecedented deadlock in 164 years of its history with the GOP infighting over electing a speaker in the Republican dominated house extending to the third day of voting as favorite Kevin McCarthy suffered a major setback with the 11th defeat in a row.
 

Washington: The US Congress was plunged into an unprecedented deadlock in 164 years of its history with the GOP infighting over electing a speaker in the Republican dominated house extending to the third day of voting as favorite Kevin McCarthy suffered a major setback with the 11th defeat in a row.

This is the longest speaker contest in 164 years of the Congress. Even as McCarthy kept his negotiation process with hopeless optimism with the 20-member group of extreme right-wing hardliners in the GOP members successfully derailed McCarthy, despite his receiving support from right wingers led by former President Donald Trump.

National security fears were raised as prominent members sitting on leading house committees were locked out of meetings as they had not been sworn in as reps, which can happen only after a speaker is elected.

A leading US media outlet reported that McCarthy proposed concessions in a last-ditch effort to push his vote for speakership to avoid a humiliating defeat not befitting a congressman of his high stature. Democrats sat united, throwing in their lot with their minority leader Hakeem Jefferies, who has managed to secure more votes than McCarthy on each ballot, yet falling short of the needed threshold.

A nominee for speakership requires 218 votes, but this number could change if members withhold their votes. The unprecedented deadlock means that the House of Representatives can’t kick off the new Congress or swear in new members until a speaker is elected.

McCarthy will pick up some holdouts today, but it’s still unclear if he has enough votes, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick said.

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick told reporters that although Rep. Kevin McCarthy will pick up some holdouts today, it is unclear if he will have enough votes as he believes at least three members will not be present at the Capitol for the vote.

“I think it’s going to be an interesting situation today; I think he’s going to pick up some of those holdouts but they’re missing members today,” Fitzpatrick told reporters.

A media report said that the holdouts for McCarthy were described by Fitzpatrick as individuals with their own desires, it’s not a monotheistic group, each one of them has specific concerns.

“When people say the question is how many we pick up today, I don’t know the number or the names,” Fitzpatrick said.

The Pennsylvania Republican said that McCarthy cannot afford to go too far out in offering concessions to hardliners to lose his vote. Fitzpatrick said the vote will likely last into the weekend as he trundled his way to the GOP conference hall.

The report mentioned that the House’s inability to select a speaker is impacting US national security, Republican and Democratic lawmakers and staffers say, as members who can’t yet be sworn in are being locked out of classified briefings.

How the House speaker’s impasse is impacting US national security.

US Rep. Mike Gallagher said that he was denied entry to a meeting with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mark Miley because he does not yet have a security clearance.

The House’s inability to select a speaker is impacting US national security, Republican and Democratic lawmakers and staffers say, as members who can’t yet be sworn in are being locked out of classified briefings and the Biden administration is effectively operating without House oversight, media reports said.

House members are not staying informed of day-to-day national security developments as they cannot receive a security clearance until they are sworn in.

In an extreme scenario, the impasse meant that the current Congress is not in a position to either authorise or stop a war, staffers and experts claimed, sources said.

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, also said he is concerned about the national security implications of the impasse on Thursday afternoon, as McCarthy kept failing in the voting process.


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