USA: Chaos in the US Parliament: The race for the top job begins again

The US Parliament is increasingly mired in chaos.

USA: Chaos in the US Parliament: The race for the top job begins again

The US Parliament is increasingly mired in chaos. Two and a half weeks after the dramatic removal of the previous chairman of the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, the search for a successor begins again.

After losing three rounds of election for the powerful chief post in the US Congress, Republican Jim Jordan is out of the race. The Republican faction dropped the confidant of former US President Donald Trump as their candidate for office yesterday. It is unclear who could run instead. There could be another election on Tuesday at the earliest. Until then, the legislative work in the Chamber of Congress remains largely idle.

McCarthy was voted out of the post in a historic vote at the beginning of October. Radical Republicans had driven him out of office. It was the first time in US history that a chairman of the House of Representatives lost his job in this way. The office comes third in the United States' hierarchy after the president and his vice president.

The far-reaching consequences

The drama among the Republicans in the House of Representatives has largely brought the US Parliament to a political standstill for the time being. Until a new chairman of the chamber is appointed, the legislative work there has largely been paralyzed - and this in the middle of a time of major international conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East that need the attention of the US Parliament.

Yesterday, US President Joe Biden asked Congress for a $105 billion (over 94 billion euros) aid package with support for Ukraine and Israel. The chamber also has to urgently decide on a federal budget. Initially, only a transitional budget has been agreed until mid-November, which does not contain any support for Kiev. But for now nothing is moving in the parliamentary chamber.

The unsuccessful candidate

Jordan also failed yesterday in the third round of voting for the top job, losing more votes from his own ranks compared to previous attempts. The group then turned away from him as a candidate in an internal vote behind closed doors. Jordan promised afterward that he would do what he could to help find another candidate.

The right-wing hardliner had tried in recent days to win over internal party opponents to his side. Some reported feeling threatened and pressured by Jordan's supporters.

The way forward

For now, Republican Patrick McHenry is acting as interim leader of the House of Representatives. However, he is primarily responsible for formal tasks, in particular for organizing the election of a McCarthy successor. McHenry announced that the Republican group would meet on Monday evening (local time) to discuss a new candidate.

The election process should then begin again in the plenary session on Tuesday. Candidates for the post would need some time to talk to other MPs, drum up support and explore chances for a majority. It is important that the group takes some space and time for a “fresh start”.

The frustration of the MPs

After an internal meeting yesterday, Republican lawmakers expressed frustration and anger at the chaos within their own ranks. Representative Dusty Johnson, for example, complained that the blind ambition of individuals had sufficiently torpedoed the process.

The citizens are fed up with this and so are the members of Congress, he told CNN. This “nonsense” is “frustrating” and must stop. "This is a time when we need people interested in problem solving, not self-aggrandizement." However, there will still be “a few days of chaos” until a solution is found.

The Republicans only have a narrow majority in the House of Representatives and the group is extremely fragmented. It is unclear which candidate will be able to rally the majority of Republican representatives behind them. Tom Emmer from the group's leadership is considered a potential new candidate.