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Wayland Student Press

The student news site of Wayland High School

Wayland Student Press

The student news site of Wayland High School

Wayland Student Press

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May 20, 2024
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Opinion: The GOP embarrasses itself, it embarrasses me

Credit: Kally Proctor
WSPN’s Kally Proctor discusses the continued stoppage of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The American people have been getting a clear look into the inner workings of Capitol Hill, and it’s pretty ugly.

As of Oct. 24, the House of Representatives had been without a speaker for nearly three weeks since eight members of the conservative Freedom Caucus teamed with Democrats to oust former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

The move marked the first time in U.S. history that a speaker had been voted out of office. By rule, the House was unable to perform any legislative activity until a new speaker was elected. Thus, the U.S. government had to remain in a protracted state of limbo –unable to function until the Republicans could unite around a candidate.

That’s embarrassing, especially given that the Republicans control the House. It’s even more embarrassing because this whole speaker-toppling thing was initiated by just one person: Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-CA).

Gaetz succeeded because the Republicans were unable to coalesce around a speaker back in January, requiring 15 rounds of voting to elect McCarthy. At the time, the GOP was seemingly gridlocked until Gaetz horse-traded support for McCarthy in return for an unprecedented rule change establishing the ability of a single person to initiate a motion to vacate the speaker position.

15 rounds. That’s embarrassing.

The only other time in post-Civil War history that the House even required multiple rounds to elect a speaker was a century ago. Otherwise, the majority party has always been able to get its act together and elect its speaker in a single round of voting, stretching as far back as 1861.

Now, in 2023, the Republicans were back at it again, trying to elect a replacement speaker for McCarthy. You would think they would have learned from the previous time, but they haven’t.

First up came House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA), a candidate who initially showed promise until he ultimately failed to muster enough support, dropping out of the race within 36 hours. He didn’t even manage to reach a floor vote, as it became obvious that he didn’t have enough GOP votes.

36 hours. That’s embarrassing.

Then, it was Jim Jordan’s (R-OH) turn. The popular Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and a founding member of the Freedom Caucus back in 2015 spent a week as the GOP nominee. But then, he failed on three successive floor votes to garner the required majority, at which point the Republican Caucus voted him off the ballot.

Three votes, no go. So embarrassing.

Back to the drawing board they went. This time, nine GOP candidates raised their hands for the GOP nomination. Then, about 24 hours and five rounds of internal voting later, the Republicans nominated House Majority Whip Thomas Emmer Jr. (R-MN) to be the next speaker. But that didn’t last long, especially with former President Donald Trump speaking out against Emmer, labeling him a RINO (Republican in name only) and calling him “totally out of touch with Republican voters.” Not surprisingly, Emmer withdrew from the speaker’s nomination after a mere three and a half hours.

Emmer’s resignation marked three weeks without a speaker. That’s basically the definition of embarrassing.

Time to repeat the process, again. This time, four new candidates emerged, including Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA), Vice Chair of the House Republican Conference, who ultimately beat out Rep. Bryan Donalds (R-FL) to become the Republican’s fourth speaker nominee. And it was Johnson who finally succeeded where none of the others could: by a vote of 220-209, Johnson prevailed on the House floor in a single ballot the next day to officially assume the mantle of Speaker of the House of Representatives.

22 days. Four speaker candidates. So many votes. So much time wasted. Such an embarrassment.

But it’s worse than that. It’s inept. It’s selfish. And, it’s simply irresponsible.

Now more than ever, we need a strong governing body. Now more than ever, we need to be able to rely on our leaders in Washington. Now more than ever, we need our elected officials to step up and govern, especially as two of our allies are fighting wars for their very existence and Americans are being held hostage, all while the clock continues to tick on required budgetary appropriations with a looming mid-November funding deadline.

Just when we need it most, our government is failing us.

They sure embarrassed themselves.

It’s embarrassing to me. And it should also be embarrassing to you.

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About the Contributor
Kally Proctor
Kally Proctor, Co-Features Editor
Kally Proctor, Class of 2024, is a third year reporter and co-features editor for WSPN. She is captain of the high school’s mock trial team and tennis team in the spring. Outside of school, she enjoys spending time with friends, visiting new places and finding new books to read. Contact: [email protected]
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