There is an election debacle in the US House of Representatives, Republican McCarthy fails to win the majority for the election as chairman three times. But why is the “speaker” so important?
Republican Kevin McCarthy was denied the necessary support three times to be elected chairman of the US House of Representatives. This is mainly due to deviants from their own ranks. The last time there was a similar election debacle was 100 years ago. This Wednesday, the US House of Representatives will continue to vote on who will head one of the two chambers of Congress in the future.
Will it be the ultimate humiliation and will McCarthy not be elected at all? Why is the election so important in the first place, and what drives Republican dissenters? t-online answers the most important questions:
Why is the “speaker” so powerful in the US?
The Speaker of the US House of Representatives is the third most important person in the US behind President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. The office is most comparable to that of the German Bundestag President. However, the “speaker” in the USA acts as an influential leader of the opposition if he is a supporter of a party other than the respective US president. No law gets past the speaker in Congress, he can set the political agenda for at least the next two years.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives – the second chamber of Congress alongside the US Senate – decides which committees will work on bills. The incumbent also controls the order in which MPs speak and participates in negotiations with the White House. In his function, the speaker is also superior to the chairman of the Senate.
Why is this choice so important?
The appointment is so important because the House of Representatives cannot begin work without a speaker. After the election, the elected representatives of the new legislative period are actually sworn in, which is usually celebrated with a ceremony. MPs bring their loved ones with them to Washington that day.
The election, which requires an absolute majority, is actually considered routine. The winner is usually known in advance because the voting ratios are already set and the respective party has decided on the person. With the now artificially extended election, the revolting Republicans are delaying the new legislative period.
The debacle is already historic. Last 100 years ago there was a similar case. In 1923, nine ballots were needed to elect a chairman. At that time it took several days. In the 1850s, 133 ballots were needed over two months, writes US correspondent Bastian Brauns.
What is the difference between the speaker and the group leader?
The faction leader represents the respective party in the House of Representatives and thus leads either the minority or the majority party. Currently, that’s Kevin McCarthy for the Republicans and Hakeem Jeffries for the Democrats. If McCarthy is elected speaker and thus succeeds Democrat Nancy Pelosi, it would be a long-awaited rise for him.
Who is Kevin McCarthy?
57-year-old Republican Kevin McCarthy is from California. He campaigns against abortion and for the right to own guns. In the right wing of the party, which is loyal to Trump, the deputy has some opponents who consider him too moderate.
McCarthy has alternated between minority and majority leader leadership in the House of Representatives since 2014, depending on whether his party was stronger or weaker in terms of the number of MPs. Since 2019, he has led the Republicans in the House of Representatives as the House Minority Leader.
Why are some Republicans failing to follow him?
A power struggle rages within the Republican faction in the US House of Representatives. Since the US midterm elections in November, the Republicans have had a majority here, but it is extremely narrow. They have 222 seats, for an absolute majority they need 218 votes. This distribution of seats gives 20 Republican lawmakers the opportunity to hold the entire party politically hostage.