Republicans still can't elect US House speaker after Emmer drops out

Tom Emmer becomes third Republican nominee to back out, leaving the chamber without a permanent leader

Tom Emmer stepped down from a speakership nomination after realising he did not have the required 217 votes. Bloomberg
Powered by automated translation

Republicans in the US House of Representatives went through a third candidate for a House speaker in three weeks, increasing the challenge of finding a candidate who can claim the gavel.

Tom Emmer on Tuesday became the third person to step out of the speakership race, just hours after winning the GOP nomination, bringing the party back to the drawing board.

Kevin McCarthy was removed from the speakership by far-right Republican members at the start of October, in a successful "motion to vacate" vote never seen before in American history.

Since Mr McCarthy's removal, Republican Party infighting has plagued the House.

Republicans control the chamber with a narrow 221-212 majority but have struggled to elect a candidate that would unify the fractured party.

Mr Emmer realised that he would not obtain the required 217 votes to be elected to the position. Representatives Jim Jordan and Steve Scalise did the same in recent weeks.

Representative Patrick McHenry is serving as the acting speaker with limited authority.

The House adjourned on Tuesday evening to continue negotiations behind closed doors into Wednesday.

The continued stalemate, preventing any legislation from being brought forward, is complicating the US response to crises in Israel-Gaza and Ukraine, for which President Joe Biden has requested emergency funds.

A stopgap government funding bill expires on November 17, bringing threat of a shutdown if funding is not extended.

Updated: October 25, 2023, 12:33 AM