WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans on Tuesday picked Rep. Tom Emmer as their nominee for House speaker. The nominee now goes to the full House for a vote. House Republicans were meeting privately to try nominating a new House speaker.
It’s three weeks since Republicans ousted Kevin McCarthy. The House speaker will need to accomplish the seemingly impossible job of uniting the GOP majority. Emmer of Minnesota jumped ahead as the top vote-getter on early round ballots and was battling Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana on a fifth ballot.
Others are dropping out including Florida newcomer Byron Donalds, who’s aligned with Donald Trump, and Kevin Hern of Oklahoma. The nominee will also need to win a majority in a House floor vote.
Also withdrawing from the race were Reps. Austin Scott of Georgia, Jack Bergman of Michigan, Pete Sessions of Texas, Gary Palmer of Alabama and Dan Meuser of Pennsylvania.
The House has been in turmoil, without a speaker since the start of the month after a contingent of hard-line Republicans ousted McCarthy, creating what's now a governing crisis that's preventing the normal operations of Congress.
The federal government risks a shutdown in a matter of weeks if Congress fails to pass funding legislation by a Nov. 17 deadline to keep services and offices running. More immediately, President Joe Biden has asked Congress to provide $105 billion in aid — to help Israel and Ukraine amid their wars and to shore up the U.S. border with Mexico. Federal aviation and farming programs face expiration without action.
Some Democrats have eyed Emmer, the third-ranking House GOP leader who had voted to certify the 2020 election results as a potential partner in governing the House.
But Trump allies and other hard-liners have been critical of Emmer over his support of a same-sex marriage initiative and perceived criticisms of the former president.
Trump downplayed, even derided, Emmer, with whom he has had a rocky relationship, while presenting himself Monday as a kingmaker who talks to “a lot of congressmen” seeking his stamp of approval.
___ Associated Press writers Jill Colvin and Holly Ramer in Concord, New Hampshire, contributed to this report.