Three questions to understand the impasse in the House of Representatives

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Three questions to understand the ;impasse at the House of Representatives

Opposing the election of Kevin McCarthy, Republican representatives, including Matt Gaetz and Andy Biggs, discuss before the vote.

The elected Republicans have still not managed to agree on the choice of the president of the House of Representatives while the rounds of voting have followed one another since Tuesday. Experts help us understand this impasse.

Republicans won a majority in the House of Representatives in midterm elections in November and hold 222 of 435 seats To be elected, the President of the Chamber must obtain 218 votes, a threshold which can theoretically vary according to possible abstentions.

It should be easy, but the favorite, Kevin McCarthy, leader of the Republican minority since 2019, is not unanimous. In the first six rounds, he failed to surpass the 203 vote count.

Result: his election, which should be a formality, has come up against the hostility since Tuesday of some twenty elected members of the Freedom Caucus (Freedom Caucus), a far-right parliamentary group, who refuse to vote for him, accusing him of being too moderate.

There is a more Trumpist, ideologically extremist faction that wants […] to decentralize power to […] be able to enact bills and order investigations, says Antoine Yoshinaka, associate professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of New York State in Buffalo on All One Morning.

There is also a personal dimension to this blockage, he adds, insofar as several elected members of this faction do not trust Mr. McCarthy, whom they accuse of being a careerist and a representative of the swamp. which Donald Trump has promised to drain.

“The Americans are tired of the swamp and sent us here to change it, not to adopt the status quo.

—Texas Representative and Freedom Caucus member Chip Roy on Twitter

The choice of the Speaker of the House of Representatives is essential. He is the most important elected official in the House and the third most important figure in American political life after the president and the vice president.

It is he who decides which bills are put to a vote in the House and who assigns responsibility to various caucus members to serve on committees. It also has a say in federal government funding.

As long as there is no president of the Chamber, the work of the latter is blocked. Elected officials cannot take oaths or pass bills. Nor can they open the many investigations they had promised against Joe Biden.

This ideological divide reveals major problems within the Republican Party, Mr. Yoshinaka believes , who is also a researcher at the Raoul-Dandurand Chair at UQAM.

This gives a good idea of ​​the chaos that will reign over the next two years, he points out. Even if they choose a president, that doesn't mean all of a sudden the 222 Republicans will all be rowing in the same direction. There will still be disputes within the caucus.

“It doesn't matter who is president, it's going to be very difficult to manage during the next two years. »

— Antoine Yoshinaka, professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo

Kevin McCarthy awaits the outcome of the January 4 vote on Capitol Hill.

This is the first time in a century that the House has not agreed on the choice of its president in the first round. Nine rounds of voting were necessary in 1923.

Kevin McCarthy has already acceded to several demands of the elected rebels without this making it possible to break the impasse.

We doubt more and more that he can say or do anything that could fill this faction which resists him, affirms Rafael Jacob, researcher at the Raoul-Dandurand Chair, in an interview with ICI RDI. Several of these chosen ones have come out into the public square to say that there is nothing he could promise that would satisfy them.

“Who will blink first?” Are they the ones who will back down or will McCarthy throw in the towel? No one can tell. »

— Rafael Jacob, researcher at the Raoul-Dandurand Chair

In 1856, the elected members of the Congress had agreed only after two months and of 133 rounds of voting.

With information from Agence France-Presse

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