KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — We are 16 days into a speaker-less House of Representatives on Capitol Hill. A third vote expected Thursday evening.
The real question is, what does a speaker-less House mean for the government?
According to Maryville College Political Science Professor Mark O’Gorman, the government remains at a standstill and this issue could take some time to resolve.
“There are no rules preventing us from staying in this limbo forever, now that’s a bit dramatic but really it’s just as much internal pressure within the Republican Party and the desire by other parties to get legislation done,” O’Gorman said. “They can stay in this mode for a long time and I think that’s the most concerning part. With everyday we have no leader, the Republican Party can’t pass legislation and that might come back to impact them next year when elections start to happen.”
The issue of a speaker-less House is not unprecedented, but this time it will be tough.
“In 1856 there was a period of two months and 133 roll call votes before a speaker was chosen. Our system is set up in a way where if there is controversy, there is a means to deal with it,” WATE political analyst George Korda said. “Sometimes it takes a while, it’s just at this point with so much more power having been assumed by the speaker it makes it much more difficult.”
Jim Jordan lost the previous two votes for speaker, losing more votes from the Republican Party on the second day. With the House at a standstill and the chance of a government shutdown looming, the stakes are high.
“As we get closer to that deadline without a speaker, then the concern is how do we get the job done and who will be the leaders that step up. I don’t think anyone wants a government shutdown, however, we might be heading that way sooner than we may think,” O’Gorman said.
Why is there this division on the Republican side of the isle? It really boils down to who can do the most for the party.
“This is kind of the essence of what the government is. It’s not one group or one party or one individual getting what they want,” Korda said. “It’s having to negotiate, talk and trade and make deals. I do this for you, you do this for me. That’s the way the system is set up.”
Jim Jordan needed 217 votes from the 221 Republican members to secure Speaker of the House. Through two attempts, he has been unsuccessful to get those needed votes.
Mark O’Gorman says the continuance of this speaker-less House will go on until there is enough policy and political pressure put on the House over the next few weeks as more and more legislation piles up.
A vote is expected Thursday evening, the time for that is still to be determined.