Israel War Could Plant McCarthy Back In The House

A handful of Republican Congress members are mulling over the idea of reinstating Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as Speaker of the House. In the wake of McCarthy’s ousting, some members of the House are concerned being speaker-less during a time of war in Israel — a strong ally of the US — could leave our nation in a vulnerable position.

Palestinian terrorist group Hamas infiltrated Israel’s border early Saturday morning and proceeded to maim, kidnap and kill hundreds of civilians and soldiers alike. A reported 900 Israelis have been killed alongside some 2300 being injured at the hands of Hamas.

Palestinian authorities have reported at least 560 deaths and nearly 3,000 injuries as a result of Israel’s retaliation.

The United Nations said more than 123,000 people have been displaced due to the destruction of their homes in the Gaza Strip. Nine American deaths have also been confirmed by officials, with several other US citizens still going unaccounted for in Israel.

President Joe Biden has already conveyed his support for Israel.

How much support and in what forms remains to be seen, but Americans are growing concerned about the level of involvement the US may be pulled into.

But part of the federal leadership package is missing right now. Last week, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) moved to vacate McCarthy’s seat as speaker — and succeeded. Normally, a special election would take place to choose the next Speaker of the House, but some Congress members are worried there is no time for that right now.

The last time Congress had to hold such an election, it went for 15 rounds before McCarthy was put into office in January 2023.

The House needs a speaker to preside over matters of responding to the Hamas attacks and supplying Israel with aid. Currently, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) is acting as interim speaker. His power is restricted though.

Per The Washington Examiner, “The Speaker pro tempore’s powers are limited by House Rules, which state that they ‘may exercise such authorities of the Office of Speaker as may be necessary and appropriate’ toward the appointment of McCarthy’s replacement. Anything else is considered beyond the role of the office.”

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) are supposed to contend for the position this week. In the face of the few Congress members pleading for McCarthy’s return, many others have already expressed support for Jordan or Scalise and seem poised to move forward with the change in place.

McCarthy remarked he was “aware and grateful” that some of his colleagues were desperate to bring him back, but he’s leaving that decision up to the GOP.

Is this just political powerplay in action as centrist Republicans remain eager to undo McCarthy’s removal from office and use this unfortunate opportunity to do it?

It’s anyone’s guess how the race to become the next speaker will shake out. It’s even more of a mystery how every possible outcome could impact efforts to support Israel during this time of crisis.

On Wednesday, a private GOP conference will deliver the nomination to whoever secures the majority vote. With all 435 members of the House on board, the next speaker will need to claim at least 217 votes to win.