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How Speaker Vacuum Affects U.S. Response To Hamas Attack On Israel

  The ability of the United States to support   Israel   following a   surprise attack   by Hamas out of Gaza within the past 24 hours may b...

 The ability of the United States to support Israel following a surprise attack by Hamas out of Gaza within the past 24 hours may be hindered because the House lacks a speaker.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) delivered an explicit warning about the power vacuum on Saturday, just days after eight Republicans joined with Democrats to vote him out as speaker.

“There is nothing the House can do until they elect a speaker. And I don’t know if that happens quickly,” McCarthy said during an appearance on Fox News.

“Why would you ever remove a speaker during a term to raise doubt around the world?” he added later after alluding to the classified intelligence situation.

There remains some doubt about whether Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), who is serving as speaker pro tempore in the short term, will be able to receive classified intelligence made available to the bipartisan and bicameral group of congressional leaders known as the “Gang of Eight.”

Jack Sherman, co-founder of Punchbowl News, further explained how the House is temporarily hamstrung without a full-time speaker.

“The House has no speaker as of now. So, as of now, the chamber will be limited in what it can do to help our strongest ally in the Middle East. Resolutions are probably fine. Policy or money — probably not,” Sherman said in a post to X.

“By the way. There are questions about whether the House can even pass a resolution right now,” he added in a follow-up post.

The Senate is reportedly scheduled to be out for a week while Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) participates in a congressional delegation trip overseas.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden released a statement saying he spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and “reiterated [his] unwavering commitment to Israel’s security.”

As of Saturday, it was not clear when the House would vote on a new speaker, but the field of candidates has taken shape over the past couple days.

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) and House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) have announced candidacies for the speakership on the GOP side while Democrats are likely to rally behind someone such as Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY).

Some members called for immediate action on the speaker’s race while the conflict in the Middle East escalated with Israel declaring a “state of war” and Hamas calling for broader “Islamic resistance.”

“In light of today’s attacks, we should be called back to DC & vote on a Speaker ASAP,” Rep. Brandon Williams (R-NY) said in a post to X.

“We’ve all had a chance to discern between the two candidates. The nation & the world needs America’s Congress to be functioning,” Williams added. “Every hour brings more risk. I met with a Taiwan representative yesterday … they are anxious about our weakness. It’s time to step up folks & get back to leading.”

Rep. Mike Lawler (R-NY) said, “The terrorist attack in Israel is a reminder that events can unfold quickly — which is why the removal of the Speaker mid-term was disastrous. Personal grievances and petty politics are destructive to our nation and the stability of our government. We need to elect a Speaker.”

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