House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) on Sunday stressed the importance of electing a Speaker in order to replenish funding for Israel and to demonstrate unified support in the wake of Hamas’s attacks on the country.
“We have to get a Speaker elected this week, so we can get things on the floor like replenishing the Iron Dome, get a resolution that Ranking Member [Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.)] and I have been working on, a bipartisan resolution condemning Hamas for what they have done to Israel,” McCaul said in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“We want to get that on the floor by unanimous consent. Whether or not we have a Speaker in place, because I think we cannot wait. We have to get that message out as soon as possible.” McCaul added.
McCaul’s comments come after hundreds of Israelis were killed by Hamas in an attack Saturday morning that some officials are describing as among the worst since the Yom Kippur War in 1973.
His comments also follow an historic House vote last Tuesday, when it voted 216-210 to remove former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), leaving a vacancy at the third-highest position in the United States government. Eight Republicans voted with all Democrats against McCarthy.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) have emerged as the top candidates in the race, but neither, as of Sunday afternoon, appear to have the votes to win the majority. House Republicans are expected to meet Tuesday for a candidate forum to narrow down the field to one candidate that could win the majority of the votes in the closely divided chamber.
McCaul also warned about the message that having a vacancy in the Speakership has to U.S. enemies.
Asked whether Congress can pass more congressional aid to Israel without a Speaker, McCaul said, “Well it’s not ideal. It wasn’t my idea to oust the Speaker. I thought it was dangerous.”
“I look at the world and all the threats that are out there. And what kind of message are we sending to our adversaries when we can’t govern? While we’re dysfunctional? When we don’t even have a Speaker of the House?” McCaul continued. “I mean, how does Chairman [Xi Jinping] in China look at that when he says democracy doesn’t work? How does the Ayatollah [in Iran] look at this, knowing that we cannot function properly? And I think it sends a terrible message.”