'It’s going to get very serious': Why the House speaker debacle raises troubling national security concerns

'It’s going to get very serious': Why the House speaker debacle raises troubling national security concerns

On January 3, Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California was hoping to be quickly chosen as House speaker by fellow Republicans. But on Wednesday afternoon, January 4, McCarthy had been rejected in no less than six votes. Around 19 or 20 far-right House Republicans who have been dubbed the “Never Kevin” faction were still refusing to vote for him; as much as McCarthy has gone to great lengths to show how MAGA he is, the “Never Kevin” Republicans (many of them members of the House Freedom Caucus) continued to insist that he wasn’t MAGA enough.

When Thursday morning, January 5 arrived, McCarthy’s supporters were hoping that he would be able to find some way to win over the “Never Kevin” holdouts. The last time the United States had this hard a time settling on a House speaker was 100 years ago back in 1923 during the days of Prohibition, bootleggers, Al Capone, flappers and silent movies.

In an article published by the conservative website The Bulwark on January 5, reporter Joe Perticone focuses on the national security concerns of 2023’s House speaker debacle. And one of the interviewees sounding the alarm in Perticone’s piece is Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu of California.

READ MORE:Donald Trump rages over fake quote saying that he is 'disappointed' in Kevin McCarthy

“We can’t even do basic things,” Lieu told The Bulwark. “We can’t conduct any oversight. You can’t have an entire branch of government simply not function. And we don’t have a House right now because no one’s even sworn in. And the chaos on the Republican side is having real consequences for the country, and it’s going to get very serious very fast.”

The congressman added, “Imagine if there’s some unexpected crisis either domestically or somewhere in the world and you needed Congress to act. We couldn’t right now because we don’t have a speaker.”

Lieu offered a troubling future scenario: one in which a president-elect’s Electoral College certification is delayed because the majority party in the U.S. House of Representatives can’t get a speaker confirmed. That wasn’t a problem back in 1923, as 1922 was a midterms year and the next presidential election wasn’t until 1924 (when Republican President Calvin Coolidge enjoyed a decisive victory over Democrat John W. Davis and Progressive Party nominee Robert M. La Follette).

Lieu told The Bulwark, “With January 6th coming up, we should be reminded not only of their horrendous attack on our Capitol, but why the former president picked that day. It was to stop the certification of the Electoral College results. And so, thank goodness we don’t have to certify any Electoral College results this week because we wouldn’t be able to. The American people should be asking themselves, two years from now: Would you actually want a Republican House majority again?”

READ MORE: Kevin McCarthy is being imperiled by the very 'extremists' he encouraged: ex-Reagan speechwriter

Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York, who chaired the House Judiciary Committee under former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is sounding the alarm as well.

Nadler told The Bulwark, “If, God forbid, there was a crisis, we couldn’t respond to it in any way. Either (Republicans) do and they don’t care, or they don’t understand it.”

READ MORE: 'We’re on defense': Mitch McConnell juggles priorities after getting 'blindsided' by Kevin McCarthy

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