New York Times Opinion: How the Interim Speaker Patrick McHenry Could Actually Govern

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Brendan Buck


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In the first nearly 10 months of their majority, Republicans have nominated three different people to serve as speaker of the House, and not one of them currently holds the gavel. Jim Jordan’s defeat at the hands of mainly centrists, following the demise of Steve Scalise and Kevin McCarthy at the hands of conservatives, cements the idea that there may be no person who can unify the Republican conference.

In the absence of a speaker, the House of Representatives has gone dormant. No bills have come up for a vote. New pieces of legislation are not being sent to committee for consideration. And while the world is looking to the United States for decisive action, the prospects for electing a new speaker right now are bleak.

House Republicans are left with a choice: continue their interminable ritual of self-sabotage and try to advance yet another nominee to be speaker, or shelve this debate and get to work without one. The second option is not a durable solution, but it is a path forward. The House has the ability to legislate, and it must take it.