FOR THE WEEK OF OCT. 09, 2023
Summarize any news from Congress this week.
Now find unrelated coverage from Washington. What's the issue or topic?
Look for coverage of a senator or House member from your state. Name her or him.
The House of Representatives is leaderless after a power struggle among Republicans, halting legislative business in that branch of Congress. Eight party rebels led by Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida voted to unseat Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., from his role last week. All Democrats backed their no-confidence motion, a historic 216-210 vote that's the first of its kind.The next speaker will be elected by all members, and jockeying is under way among Republicans. They have a 10-seat House majority, so the replacement will be from their party. Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., a temporary leader, has called for members to vote this Wednesday on the next speaker. "The fight over the speakership is unlikely to be quick," predicts prominent blogger Heather Cox Richardson, a Boston College historian. New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg writes: "However the race shakes out, we can be fairly sure that the House will be a mess for the foreseeable future."
As a condition for becoming speaker in January after 15 rounds of voting across four days, McCarthy accepted a new rule letting one member file a motion to vacate the top job. The unprecedented situation provokes uncertainty, speculation and opinion. "The House of Representatives is effectively frozen," says Rep. Garret Graves, R-La. "We're not able to actually advance legislation. We can't even refer bills to committee." Another dismayed Republican congressman, Dusty Johnson of South Dakota, says: "Frankly, one has to wonder whether the House is governable at all."
Some moderate Republicans want to drop the new rule that lets any member call a vote to remove the House leader. "That needs to go," urges Rep. Mike Lawler, R-N.Y. "That rule needs to change as part of any choice for speaker." The Republican Main Street Caucus, a group of more than 70 members, call the rule a "chokehold on this body." And on the Democratic side, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York tweets: "You can't allow a small band of . . . extremists to run the House or the country."
Republican says: "I think Matt [Gaetz] would be a great dictator in a small island nation in the Pacific or something. That's probably the best next step for him." – Rep. Garret Graves of Louisiana
Professor says: "There's absolutely no precedents on any of this because this hasn’t happened before." – Josh Chafetz, Georgetown University Law Center
Journalist says: "To succeed as legislators, they needed cohesion, discipline and leadership. Instead, they produced chaos." – Dan Balz, The Washington Post