Mandel Ngan Agence France-Presse «It has been quite an adventure and there is still work to be done. I just told my colleagues that I am withdrawing my name as a candidate for speaker,” Republican Steve Scalise told reporters.
Faced with endless and inconclusive negotiations, the Republican candidate for the post of leader of the American House of Representatives gave up on Thursday evening to run, leaving Congress to sink deeper into crisis.
Louisiana elected representative Steve Scalise, leader of the Republican group, narrowly won an informal election last Wednesday to replace Kevin McCarthy, dismissed on October 3, as “speaker” of the House.
But lacking sufficient support within his party, devoured by fratricidal quarrels between moderate elected officials and Trumpist troublemakers, he announced throwing in the towel.
< b> Sabotage by the radical fringe of the Republican camp
“It’s been quite an adventure and there’s still work to do. “I just told my colleagues that I am withdrawing my name as a candidate for speaker,” Mr. Scalise told reporters.
With this announcement, the search for a new leader for the American Congress, paralyzed for more than a week, looks set to become increasingly difficult.
Congress has two chambers: one, the Senate, is won by Joe Biden's Democrats, but the other, the House of Representatives, in the hands of the Republicans, is in an unprecedented impasse.
The vast majority of the powers of this institution were suspended by the surprise dismissal of “speaker” Kevin McCarthy, which exposed the gaping fractures which crosses the camp of American conservatives, one year before the 2024 presidential election.
Faced with their inability to agree on his successor, this chamber, supposed to be one of the most powerful in the world, is in incredible paralysis.
The United States is currently unable to vote for any new aid to Israel, a historic ally in the midst of war with Hamas. Nor even an additional envelope for Ukraine invaded by Russia, under discussion for weeks.
A mess which the world's leading economic power – still attached to its role as world policeman – would have liked to do without .
Without “speaker”, the third political figure in the United States, the American Congress cannot vote on a new budget for the federal state either. The latter expires in a few weeks, once again placing the world's leading economic power in danger of paralysis of its public administration.
Steve Scalise, known for having survived a shooting in 2017, hoped to be able to submit his candidacy to a vote with all elected officials in the House. A necessary step to access the perch.
But around ten conservatives immediately made it known that they would oppose his candidacy at all costs. They invoked, pell-mell, the budgetary positions of the elected official, the fact that he suffers from cancer, or his speech given 20 years ago at a convention linked to a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan , to block it.
Will the blockage last a few more days? A few weeks ? Confusion seems to reign at all levels of the party.
“This country is counting on us to come together. The House of Representatives needs a speaker and we need to make [it] work again,” said Steve Scalise.
“But it’s clear that not everyone is there. And that there are always divisions that need to be resolved,” he added.
“Why don’t we all go home and get together during the week next ? “, suggested Trumpist elected official Marjorie Taylor Greene on Thursday afternoon.
Joe Biden's Democratic Party is in the minority in the House and therefore mainly a spectator of the chaotic negotiations in Congress.
Unless there is a surprise alliance with moderate Republicans, which could also put an end to this unprecedented situation.
“The Republican civil war in the House continues to paralyze Congress” , lamented Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries on Thursday, saying that “a transpartisan solution is the only way out of this. »