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Israel’s Siege of Gaza: A Humanitarian Crisis Unfolding

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The race for the next speaker of the US House of Representatives is heating up, as Republicans Steve Scalise and Jim Jordan vie for the position after the historic ouster of Kevin McCarthy last week. The two candidates made their pitches to their colleagues on Tuesday, but neither seemed to have a clear advantage.

Scalise, the House majority leader, and Jordan, the Judiciary Committee chair, have different visions and styles for leading the chamber. Scalise is seen as a more pragmatic and establishment figure, while Jordan is a staunch conservative and a close ally of former President Donald Trump.

The House speaker is the most powerful position in the lower chamber of Congress, setting the agenda and influencing legislation. The speaker also plays a key role in national security and foreign policy issues, especially in times of crisis.

The House Republicans are under pressure to elect a new speaker quickly, as Israel declared war on Sunday following an attack by Palestinian militant group Hamas that has prompted calls for more US military aid. The House is currently led by acting Speaker Patrick McHenry, who has limited authority and cannot participate in intelligence briefings on the crisis.

The Republicans hold a narrow 221-212 majority in the House, which means they need at least 217 votes to elect a speaker on the floor. However, the caucus is deeply divided, and some lawmakers are still angry at the eight Republicans who voted to remove McCarthy last week.

Some moderate Republicans have also laid out demands for the speakership candidates, such as changing the rule that allowed one lawmaker to call a vote to oust McCarthy and ensuring more transparency and inclusiveness in decision-making.

If neither Scalise nor Jordan can secure enough support, the Republicans may have to look for a fallback candidate, such as McHenry or another senior member. The House GOP is scheduled to hold an internal election by secret ballot on Wednesday, but it is unclear when the floor vote could happen.

The outcome of the speaker race could have significant implications for President Joe Biden’s agenda, as well as for the 2024 elections. The new speaker will have to deal with other thorny issues, such as government funding, immigration reform, and infrastructure spending.

Source: [Reuters]

 

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