WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Republicans on Tuesday nominated Mike Johnson to lead the House of Representatives, although it was unclear whether he would simply become the latest candidate to fall victim to party infighting that has paralyzed Congress for more than a decade. three weeks.
Rep. Johnson of Louisiana is the fourth Republican this month to win the party’s nomination for president, which has remained vacant since a small faction of party rebels was ousted. Kevin McCarthy On October 3rd.
The Republican disorder has left legislators unable to respond to wars in the Middle East and Ukraine, or take steps to avoid a partial government shutdown that would begin Nov. 18 without congressional action.
It was unclear whether Johnson would be able to overcome divisions that have tripped up three other candidates who had previously won the party’s nomination. In a sign of those divisions, second place in the nomination vote was the ousted McCarthy, who garnered 43 votes despite not being a declared candidate.
Tom EmmerThe No. 3 Republican in the House of Representatives, won the nomination that same day, only to withdraw hours later due to opposition from the party’s right flank.
Like Steve Scalise and Jim Jordan before him, Emmer’s prospects were doomed by a relatively small group of holdouts who denied him the 217 votes he would need to win the presidential gavel. That high threshold and the party’s narrow majority, 221-212, means any candidate can afford to lose just four votes if Democrats remain united in opposition.
“We don’t have the ability right now to reach a verdict, and it’s a very distressing place,” said Rep. Marc Molinaro.
Johnson, a conservative constitutional law attorney, has presented himself as a bridge builder between the various Republican factions. The northwest Louisiana district he represents is one of the poorest in the country.
“He knows everyone very well, he does a great job bringing people together, talking about our policies, and that’s what we need right now,” said Republican Rep. Kevin Hern, who withdrew his own bid to endorse Johnson.
Johnson edged out Byron Donalds, Mark Green, Roger Williams and Chuck Fleischmann in the latest fight for the Republican speaker nomination. In total, 14 Republicans have filed their names for president this month.
Emmer abandoned his candidacy after former President Donald Trump urged Republicans to oppose him. Unlike many in his party, Emmer voted to certify Democratic President Joe Biden’s 2020 victory over Trump following the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters.
Earlier this month, Trump had endorsed Jordan’s proposal. bid for the presidencyBut Republicans abandoned their attempt last week after Jordan lost three floor votes.
Before that, the House’s No. 2 Republican Steve Scalise He abandoned his own candidacy when he could not gather enough votes to win the position.
Democrats have said they are open to a compromise candidate who will allow the chamber to function. Many Republicans have said on principle that they would not support someone who had the support of the opposition party.
“We must follow a bipartisan path and reopen the House,” the House’s top Democrat, Hakeem Jeffries, said on social media.
Uncertainty has also contributed to higher US government borrowing costs. The government published a record deficit of 1.7 trillion dollars for the most recent fiscal year, in part due to higher interest payments.
Reporting by Luc Cohen, Richard Cowan, Katharine Jackson, David Morgan, Makini Brice and Julio César-Chávez; Written by Andy Sullivan; Editing by Scott Malone and Stephen Coates
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