Tags: kevin mccarthy | house | hamas | israel | terrorism

McCarthy's Removal Could Limit House's Response to Hamas

By    |   Saturday, 07 October 2023 07:08 PM EDT

Ousting Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., from his position as speaker of the House may have implications beyond the U.S. fiscal crisis; it could also limit the House's response to Hamas' Saturday attack on Israel.

The House was left without a leader following McCarthy's removal on Tuesday, and although Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., has been named speaker pro tempore, it is unclear how much power he has.

Under an acting speaker, Congress’ ability to provide aid to Israel could be significantly limited depending on how the House rule governing McHenry’s authority is interpreted.

Put in place in 2003, House Rule I, Clause 8(b)(3), states: "In the case of a vacancy in the Office of Speaker, the next Member on the list described in subdivision (B) shall act as Speaker pro tempore until the election of a Speaker or a Speaker pro tempore. Pending such election the Member acting as Speaker pro tempore may exercise such authorities of the Office of Speaker as may be necessary and appropriate to that end."

Experts The Washington Post spoke with were divided on the subject, with some leaning toward a narrow interpretation of the role and others theorizing that an interim speaker could act with the full authority of a speaker until a new one is elected.

McHenry would be constrained from introducing or bringing bills up for votes, including funding or support for Israel, by the narrow interpretation of the House rule.

Charles Johnson, former House parliamentarian, previously told the Post that McHenry is "doing the right thing" by keeping a low profile thus far. McHenry ordered the House into a recess after he was named speaker pro tempore to allow the Republican conference time to debate who should occupy the chamber's top position next.

Matt Glassman, a senior fellow at Georgetown University's Government Affairs Institute, argued in a blog post on Wednesday that the rule could grant an acting speaker the full authority of a speaker until a new one is chosen.

"Since the clause was put in as a continuity of government provision, it seems like we would want the speaker pro tempore to have as much power as possible in an emergency situation," Glassman wrote. "If all he can do is preside over an election of speaker, that doesn't seem particularly important or helpful."

Glassman later said he was persuaded by "strong evidence for the narrow view" after Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., found a House Rules Committee description from 2004 that stated the position existed "for the sole purpose of electing a new speaker."

He also said that McHenry would not necessarily be barred from exercising broader authority if he desired.

In the meantime, President Joe Biden might be able to deliver a more rapid response.

"The United States unequivocally condemns this appalling assault against Israel by Hamas terrorists from Gaza, and I made clear to Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu that we stand ready to offer all appropriate means of support to the government and people of Israel," Biden said in a statement on Saturday.

Gunmen from the Palestinian militant group Hamas stormed Israeli towns in a daybreak attack Saturday, killing more than 200 people and taking dozens of hostages in the deadliest day of violence in Israel in 50 years.

"We will take mighty vengeance for this black day," Netanyahu said.

Information from The Associated Press and Reuters was used in this report.

Nicole Wells

Nicole Wells, a Newsmax general assignment reporter covers news, politics, and culture. She is a National Newspaper Association award-winning journalist.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Ousting Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., from his position as speaker of the House may have implications beyond the U.S. fiscal crisis; it could also limit the House's response to Hamas' Saturday attack on Israel.
kevin mccarthy, house, hamas, israel, terrorism
Saturday, 07 October 2023 07:08 PM
Newsmax Media, Inc.

Sign up for Newsmax’s Daily Newsletter

Receive breaking news and original analysis - sent right to your inbox.

(Optional for Local News)
Privacy: We never share your email address.
Join the Newsmax Community
Read and Post Comments
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved