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How long has the House been without a speaker?

How long has the House been without a speaker?


The House of Representatives has been without a speaker for more than a week, leaving one of America’s branches of government effectively paralyzed as crises and a government shutdown loom.  

This is the longest that Congress has been rudderless since 1971, when it took 18 days to elect a speaker.

The latest twist in the saga came Thursday night, when Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., withdrew from consideration just a day after being nominated by House Republicans. Scalise, the House majority leader, had been viewed by many in the GOP as the successor to ousted Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

The House canceled a vote that was scheduled for Wednesday, and it’s unclear when it will meet next or whom the House GOP will put forward next.

Democrats are backing House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y. Upon arriving at the Capitol on Thursday morning, he told reporters that House Democrats were ready to find a “bipartisan path forward out of the chaos and dysfunction.” 

“It’s time for the GOP to end the House Republican civil war, get their act together, so that we can take care of the business that the American people stand strongly for: Our allies throughout the world, including Israel and Ukrainian people,” he said.

A lack of House leadership could continue to complicate Washington’s response to the Israel-Hamas war

Rep. Zach Nunn, R-Iowa, expressed similar concerns over the Israel-Hamas war. 

“At this point, I care less who that person is, and more that they’re willing to get policy to the floor,” he told reporters Thursday.

Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., emphasized the need for help from Democrats in order to reach the 217 votes. He urged House Democrats to communicate “what they need” in exchange for helping Republicans. 

Speaker elections typically happen at the beginning of a new congressional session, and it is extremely rare to have one during the middle of a session There have only been five instances since 1913 in which a midsession speaker election was needed, all of them following either a death or resignation. This is the first time an election will follow a speaker’s dismissal, which happened to McCarthy on Oct. 3.

Until a new speaker is chosen, Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., will serve as speaker pro tempore, an interim role for which he was selected by McCarthy and that contains limited powers to bring bills to the floor.


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