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Stalemate in House doomsday for the 'champion' of democracy

By Zhang Zhouxiang

Cai Meng/China Daily


Three weeks after a handful of conservatives in the Republican Party ousted Kevin McCarthy as the speaker of the House of Representatives who had got the job only after 15 rounds of votes, the party is still looking for his replacement.

McCarthy was ousted as speaker after the House voted for the first time in history to remove its leader, following "a rebellion among far-right dissidents".

The first candidate to put his hat into the ring, Steve Scalise, dropped out before a vote took place when it became clear he would be unable to gain the necessary support to secure the post. Jim Jordan, who stepped up next, was rejected as candidate after a secret internal Republican Party vote, following three rounds of votes in the House, failed to secure him the necessary majority.

With no consensus within the Republican Party as to who their nominee for speaker should be, it may be a protracted process before McCarthy's successor is known. Meanwhile, the House will be paralyzed and unable to pass any bills, including those on aid for Israel and Ukraine, until a new speaker is elected.

The bitter in-fighting within the Republican Party shows that the divisions in US society are no less deep than they were in the 1850s, when the dispute between the supporters of slavery and the abolitionists brewed the civil war. However, a major difference between now and then is there was a clear line drawn between the two sides in the 1850s, while there are many fault lines today.

The fact that it took a secret vote by the Republican Party to end Jordan's candidacy shows that even the party itself is so bitterly divided that many members dare not declare their allegiances in public. The partisan fighting has already boiled over from that between the Republicans and the Democrats to that among different groups within the same party.

The stalemate in finding a speaker for the US House of Representatives is not only a dark hour for the Republican Party, but a doomsday for US democracy too.

The short-term expenditure act passed on Sept 30 is only enough to support the US government up to Nov 17, by which date the latter might have to close its doors again unless a new financial budget act is passed before the deadline. Yet with no consensus in sight within the Republican Party on who their candidate for speaker will be, it's unclear whether the House will get its act together in time to vote on a bill that will be highly contentious.

The dysfunctional US political system risks engendering another global crisis.

Source:China Daily 2023-10-23
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