Republican Rep. Tom Emmer on Tuesday became his party’s third candidate for president of the US House of Representatives in three weeks, as lawmakers scramble to fill one of Washington’s top government leadership positions.
The position of House Speaker has been vacant since October 3, when Rep. Kevin McCarthy was the first president to be removed from office. Eight Republicans joined all 212 House Democrats for that vote. A right-wing faction of the Republican Party is angry with McCarthy for passing a short-term continuing resolution that funds the government to keep it open past the September 30 deadline.
Since McCarthy’s ouster, House Republicans have failed to put together a replacement. first Rep. Steve Scalise was nominated from the southern state of Louisiana, but they could not get the necessary votes.
Next, the Republican bench gave his approval to Representative Jim Jordan from the state of Ohio, in the Midwest. Jordan is a conservative firebrand and strong supporter of former President Donald Trump; but he also failed to get a majority of 217 votes in the House, falling well short of the first vote in the plenary session and then losing in two subsequent votes.
In closed consultations, the party tries to choose a candidate who can guarantee the majority of votes. Earlier this week, nine members of the Republican Party made their cases to become the next speaker of the House. Rep. Gary Palmer and Dan Meuser withdrew before voting began Tuesday, and others withdrew later in the day.
Rep. Emmer has the most support in early voting.
Emmer, 62, who has represented the state of Minnesota since 2015, has served as majority leader, one of the top leadership positions in the House Republican Conference, since earlier this year.
Republican infighting has left the speaker’s role vacant, leaving the House unable to address key budget issues. A Nov. 17 waiting period for budget issues to be resolved before the partial government shutdown takes effect.
The speaker of the United States House of Representatives is second in line to the presidency.