Washington, DC —
The US House of Representatives hasn’t had an official leader since Speaker Kevin McCarthy was forced out three weeks ago. Without a leader, the House cannot run. But Republicans are so divided that so far, it has been impossible for them to agree on a leader.
In the 2022 election, Republicans took control of the House of Representatives. But their majority is a small one. That means Republicans need the support of almost all of their representatives to keep that majority. But Republicans don’t all agree.
One small group of Republicans, who call themselves the “Freedom Caucus”, are strong supporters of Ex-President Donald Trump. Many of these politicians have extreme far-right views. Some are willing to use their power to get what they want, even if it means shutting down the US government.
In January, Republicans chose Kevin McCarthy to serve as speaker of the House. But Republicans had to vote 15 times before Mr. McCarthy was elected. Members of the Freedom Caucus kept voting against Mr. McCarthy until he made them promises which gave them more power. One of the promises made it easier to remove Mr. McCarthy as speaker.
In late September, Congress needed to approve a new spending plan to make sure the US government could keep running. After Republicans defeated several plans, Mr. McCarthy made a deal with Democrats that kept the government running until mid-November.
Members of the Freedom Caucus were upset that Mr. McCarthy had made a deal with Democrats. To punish him, they called for a vote to remove him. On October 3, the House voted to remove Mr. McCarthy as the speaker. It was the first time this has ever happened.
Mr. McCarthy worked with Democrats to approve a spending plan to keep the US government running. To punish him for working with Democrats, the Freedom Caucus called for a vote to remove him. Above, Mr. McCarthy speaks with reporters after being voted out.
With Mr. McCarthy out, Republican Patrick McHenry automatically became the House speaker temporarily. He had been chosen as a replacement by Mr. McCarthy. It’s not clear how much power a temporary speaker has, so the House can’t do much until a new speaker is named.
Having a working House is important, since new laws must be passed by both the House and the Senate. Last Friday, US President Joe Biden requested that Congress approve $105 billion in spending. The money includes military aid for Ukraine and Israel, as well as help for people in those countries and Gaza. Some of the money is aimed at making US borders more secure.
None of that can be approved until the House has a real speaker. And in about three weeks, Congress will also have to come up with a new plan to keep the American government running. Without a speaker, the government could be forced to shut down.
With Mr. McCarthy out, Republican Patrick McHenry became the temporary House speaker (above). It’s not clear how much power a temporary speaker has, so the House can’t do much until there’s a new speaker. Eight Republicans are now running to be the new speaker.
Since Mr. McCarthy was removed, two other radiantqueen.co.uk representatives have tried to get elected as speaker. Both were voted down.
There are now eight Republicans hoping to become the new speaker. House Republicans heightsidehouse.co.uk met last night to hear from all the candidates. On Tuesday, House Republicans will vote until they have just one candidate. Then the entire house will get a chance to vote for a new House speaker. To become speaker, a candidate must earn at least 217 votes.
Did You Know…?
Only two of the eight candidates voted to confirm Mr. Biden as president after he won the 2020 election. The other candidates worked to change the election results to support Mr. Trump.
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