WASHINGTON – As the U.S. House enters its third week without a speaker and unable to conduct any business, confusion and uncertainty reigned.
Some GOP lawmakers, mostly moderates led by Rep. David Joyce, R-Ohio, want to pass a resolution that would temporarily empower Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., who is now in the caretaker role of Speaker Pro Tempore.
That plan was initially supported by Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who is the GOP’s speaker nominee. Jordan is still vying for the House GOP’s top leadership job, but lost two votes this week for speaker because of 20, then 22 defections of fellow Republican lawmakers, including Rep. Pete Stauber, R-8th District, who supported Jordan on the first vote but rejected him on the second.
But after dozens of GOP lawmakers rejected the plan, fearing it would need Democratic support to succeed in the closely divided House, Jordan said it was DOA.
Meanwhile, voting to try to have Jordan elected speaker stopped – at least temporarily – and House Republicans spent four hours Thursday behind closed doors considering other options, including voting McCarthy back as speaker and throwing the speaker’s race wide open to anyone with an interest in the job.
Jordan came out of the heated meeting saying he is still running for speaker.
But the House GOP has no clear path out of its dilemma and confusion and hard feelings abound among House Republicans, some who have been receiving death threats for failing to back Jordan for speaker.
Jordan condemned the threat of violence on X, a social media platform formerly known as Twitter.
“No American should accost another for their beliefs,” Jordan said. “We condemn all threats against our colleagues and it is imperative that we come together. Stop. It’s abhorrent.”
Still, Jordan’s allies, which include conservative media, have been putting enormous pressure upon House Republicans who would not back Jordan.
The phones in Stauber’s Capitol Hill office were ringing off the hook Wednesday after Jordan lost his second vote. Most calls were critical of Stauber, who voted for Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Ark., and the callers came mostly from outside Minnesota.
Stauber’s office said the lawmaker did not receive death threats, “but we did receive one call that was threatening enough to report to Capitol Police.”
“We take the safety of the Congressman and our staff very seriously, and appreciate the great work that law enforcement does to help ensure our safety,” a spokeswoman for the lawmaker said.
Craig draws new GOP challenger
Rep. Angie Craig, D-2nd District, considered the most vulnerable incumbent in Minnesota’s congressional delegation because of the “purple” nature of her district, drew a new GOP challenger this week.
It’s Joe Teirab, who lives in Burnsville and is a former federal prosecutor and Marine Corps Veteran. In a statement announcing his candidacy, Teraib said he is the son of a Sudanese immigrant who grew up in southwest Minnesota and attended Harvard Law School.
Craig, who has been targeted by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) is also being challenged by attorney Tayler Rahm, who like Teirab also lives in Burnsville and has not held elected office before.
Mike Murphy, the former mayor of Lexington, also launched a campaign against Craig.
But Craig, who was first elected to represent the 2nd District in the U.S. House in 2018, has vastly outraised those rivals. According to the latest reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, Rahm has raised nearly $112,000 and ended the last quarter with about $60,000 in cash on hand in his campaign. Murphy reported that his campaign had a debt of about $28,000 at the end of the quarter.
Craig, meanwhile, reported raising more than $2.2 million for her re-election effort and more than $1.5 million in her campaign war chest at the end of the quarter.
Your questions and comments
After Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., bowed out of the race for Speaker of the House, several readers weighed in on the House GOP inability to choose a successor to ousted former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, voicing concerns about the ensuing shutdown of the U.S. House of Representatives. This is what one reader wrote:
…“(It) would seem House Republicans are back to square one, and in the process, once again, proving they cannot govern, or at least choose not to do so. A paralyzed House is a useless House, paralyzing the national government at a time when some genuine action might need to be taken …”
Another reader took me to task for failing to include “local farmers” in a story this week about Congress’ failure to pass a farm bill.
“I didn’t find any ‘local farmers’ in the article other than two representatives of Ag Lobby organizations,” the reader wrote.
He is right. I did reach out to the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation and an organization that represents the state’s dairy farmers. But I would also love to hear about how the lack of a new farm bill impacts any other Minnesota farmers. Please reach out to me.
Please keep your comments, and any questions, coming. I’ll try my best to respond. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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