Hamas’ deadly attack on Israel has prompted a wave of speculation about whether the House is capable of responding — including whether Acting Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry needs to be given more authority to move legislation.
Were Rep. Kevin McCarthy still leading right now, there’s no doubt that he would quickly call up a vote reaffirming U.S. support for its closest ally in the Middle East. It would also attempt to split Democrats, whose ranks include Israel critics and Palestinian sympathizers.
It’s not for lack of interest. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Michael McCaul (R-Texas) and ranking Democrat Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) crafted a pro-Israel resolution over the weekend, as Axios first reported. McCaul said he expects the resolution “to be one of the first, if not the first items considered on the floor once we elect a new Speaker.”
Yet there’s plenty of fear right now that electing a new speaker won’t be wrapped up this week, as Republicans hoped. Besides the horse race between Jordan and Majority Leader Steve Scalise, members have to work through tricky side issues such as the threshold for the GOP speaker nomination, whether to reform the rule that allowed McCarthy to be deposed and how to deal with the hard-liners who instigated the chaos. [Continue reading…]