Rachel Maddow explained that if Kevin McCarthy or someone else is not elected as the next Speaker of the House, the new Congress will not start.
Rachel Maddow explained that for Kevin McCarthy, there was more to it than embarrassment:
Maybe it’s more than that, the problem is more than that, oh, it’s embarrassing for Kevin McCarthy, it’s going to be a waste of time for Kevin McCarthy and the Republicans, oh, it’s bad optics, No, if he doesn’t get elected speaker if someone doesn’t get elected speaker, that means no Congress.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives is the Speaker of the House of Representatives. There is no presiding official until someone is elected Speaker, which means nothing else will happen, including the swearing-in of new MPs. I mean, technically all new MPs should be sworn in by the time the old Congress expires at noon tomorrow.
But if there aren’t enough votes by then to elect someone as Speaker, if there aren’t 218 votes to elect Kevin McCarthy or someone else as Speaker, then no one will be sworn in. A new Congress will not start. Until a Speaker is chosen, there will be no House business, no votes, no committees, nothing. If they don’t get 218 when they vote, the only thing they can keep doing in Congress when they get their first vote tomorrow is keep voting over and over and doing nothing until someone finally gets it.
The idea that Republicans are so screwed up that their dysfunction leads to no new Congress is appalling. It also sends a message to the rest of the country that the GOP cannot govern. If Republicans don’t take enough collective action to start a new Congress, the midterm elections that give them a slim majority will look like an even bigger black eye.
Currently, Kevin McCarthy does not have the votes to be elected speaker. He may never get the votes to be elected Speaker, but someone has to be Speaker or there is no Congress.
It all points to a potentially fascinating and historic day in American politics, as House Republicans may be in the process of plunging to new lows.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a congressional correspondent for the White House Press Fellowship and PoliticusUSA. Jason has a BA in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, specializing in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Association of Professional Journalists and the American Political Science Association