US Republicans nominate Tom Emmer to chair the House of Representatives

In the chaotic search for a new chairman of the US House of Representatives, the Republicans have nominated their parliamentary group leader Tom Emmer as a candidate. The number 3 in the Republican faction prevailed against seven other candidates in internal votes on Tuesday, as the party announced. According to US media, the conservative MP got 117 votes in the last round, while second-placed Mike Johnson got 97 votes.

However, it is unclear whether the representative of the traditional conservative wing of the party will achieve the necessary majority of 217 votes in the plenary session of the House of Representatives to be elected to the third highest state office in the USA. The Republicans currently only have a slim majority in the Congressional Chamber with 221 representatives, while President Joe Biden’s Democrats have 212 representatives.

This means that a few dissenters among the Republicans would be enough to make Emmer fail if the Democrats voted unanimously against him. On Tuesday, around two dozen members of the right-wing Republican wing signaled that they did not want to support the representative of the party establishment.

Among other things, they accuse him of not providing sufficient support for former President Donald Trump. The right-wing hardliners are also bothered by the fact that Emmer has spoken out in favor of aid to Ukraine and gay marriage.

The House of Representatives has been paralyzed for three weeks and is therefore unable to pass any laws or new military aid for Israel and Ukraine. The previous Republican “speaker” Kevin McCarthy was overthrown on October 3rd by a revolt by right-wing hardliners within his own ranks. Weeks of chaos followed in the search for a successor.

Majority Leader Steve Scalise, initially nominated by the Republicans, withdrew his candidacy after it became clear that he would fall short of the necessary majority. The right-wing hardliner Jim Jordan, who was then nominated, clearly failed in three attempts in the plenary session. The group then withdrew the Trump confidant’s nomination last Friday.

Emmer, who has now been put into the race, is little known to the general public. The 62-year-old has been a member of the House of Representatives since 2015, representing the state of Minnesota. As a so-called “whip,” he is responsible for party discipline among the Republicans. The office is comparable to that of the parliamentary group manager in Germany.

The chaos among the Republicans that has been going on for weeks has far-reaching consequences: without a chairman, the House of Representatives is blocked from passing legislation. This means, among other things, that Congress cannot decide on further military aid for Israel, which has been attacked by the radical Islamic Palestinian organization Hamas, or Ukraine, which has been attacked by Russia, which President Biden has asked Parliament to provide. The USA is also threatened with a so-called shutdown in mid-November without a solution to the budget dispute.