House set to vote today
Today is the deadline for the U.S. House of Representatives to vote for a new Speaker of the House. The leading candidate is Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., who announced his consideration last week, despite openly admitting he does not want the position.
Former Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, announced his resignation without warning on Sept. 25, leaving the Republican-dominated House of Representatives in disarray. Then Kevin McCarthy, the majority leader and next in line for Speaker, dropped out of the running. A scramble to find a new candidate ensued.
Although this is a complex series of events, we The Threefold Advocate urge students to pay attention to the situation in the House. It is an important issue, despite not receiving much attention in the media. While many Americans tend to be apathetic about politics, there are several reasons why finding a new U.S. Speaker is an important issue.
One of the most crucial reasons to find a good U.S. Speaker is because he or she is second in line to the presidency. So if both President Obama and Vice President Biden were unable to perform their jobs, the Speaker of the House would assume the role of President.
In addition, the U.S. Speaker is the highest-ranking member of Congress. He or she is responsible for setting the majority party’s agenda and generally works to make compromises and get bills passed.
The problem with choosing a candidate, though, is that the U.S. Speaker must receive an absolute majority of votes cast or more than 50 percent. Though Republicans dominate the House, caucuses have different agendas, making it difficult to agree on a candidate.
If an absolute majority doesn’t happen, then the House will have to repeat the vote until a candidate is chosen. The House would be deadlocked until a Speaker has been chosen. In addition to holding important pieces of legislation, this would reflect poorly on the Republican Party, which many are blaming for Boehner’s resignation.
“It had become clear to me that this prolonged leadership turmoil would do irreparable harm to the institution,” Boehner said of the disagreement amongst House Republicans. According to USA Today, Republicans in the House could not agree on a funding bill to avoid a government shutdown and were threatening to remove Boehner as Speaker if he did not remove funding from Planned Parenthood.
While citizens cannot vote for the House Speaker, they should stay informed about the changes in this crucial political position. Many representatives run for president, so in the midst of a lackluster election season, Americans may see its next great president come out of the House.
We The Threefold urge you to keep up with the important changes going on in our government so we can cast a wiser vote come next November.