Win McNamee Getty Images/Agence France-Presse Unknown to the general public, Tom Emmer emerged victorious from a series of closed-door consultations.
American Republicans agreed on Tuesday to nominate an unknown to the general public, Tom Emmer, as the new candidate for the post of Speaker of the House of Representatives, vacant since the impeachment on October 3 of Kevin McCarthy.
< p>Mr. Emmer, 62, a voice of the establishment, emerged victorious from a series of closed-door consultations, but the hardest part remains for this elected official who will now have to gather enough votes in the divided party during a vote in public session.
Since Mr. McCarthy was ousted from his post by a rebellion from the very right wing of the party, the entire Congress has been blocked. In the absence of a vote on the budget, the threat of a budgetary paralysis of the federal administration in mid-November is real. And the House is unable to grant President Joe Biden's request to send emergency aid to warring Israel and Ukraine.
If he manages to get himself elected “speaker”, it will be the baptism of fire for Mr. Emmer, because he would immediately have to manage the discussions to avoid a “shutdown” of the administration, not only with seasoned negotiators like Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, but also members of his own party.
But he would be the “speaker» the least experienced in more than a century, having never chaired a committee or had a leadership role for more than a few months, even though he is the number three Republican in the House.
And he should navigate between the positions of his Republican colleagues, who have been showing deep disagreements for weeks, particularly regarding the funds requested by President Biden for Ukraine and Israel.
Mr. Emmer said in a letter to Republicans before the votes that he was running to bring about “historic change.”
Our party “remains at a crossroads and things are working against us. We have no choice but to fight like hell to maintain our majority in the House and implement our conservative agenda,” he said.
Barring the road
Only 117 of his colleagues voted for him in the last round, according to American media. 97 preferred his rival, Louisiana elected official Mike Johnson.
His allies fear he will struggle to win over the most conservative and Trumpist supporters, many of whom criticize him for voting to certify Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 election. /p>
Mr. Trump did not position himself against him, but his close ally Steve Bannon launched a campaign to block his path.
Nine candidates, all men, presented themselves to their colleagues Monday evening, promising in particular to tighten migration controls and reduce spending. They met Tuesday morning behind closed doors to vote.
Mr. Emmer is far from being the Republicans' first choice. Last week, Judiciary Committee head Jim Jordan, an ally of former President Donald Trump, appeared poised to end the party's increasingly troublesome quest.
He ended up losing three times in three votes. Then the Republicans withdrew their support.
It is not yet certain that Tom Emmer can muster the necessary 217 votes in the general vote in the chamber and ascend to the perch, even if he is seen as the more palatable choice to Democrats, some of whom have said privately they were willing to abstain during the vote to help get him over the finish line.
In return, they would demand that Mr. Emmer commit to respecting the spending levels that Republicans agreed to this summer with President Joe Biden, and that he pass a text on aid to Ukraine and Israel.