House lawmakers react to vacant speakership amid ongoing Israel-Gaza conflict

DeJuan Hoggard Image
Tuesday, October 17, 2023
House lawmakers react to uncertainty of speakership
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Members of the House of Representatives are weighing many things with their vote for Speaker of the House.

WASHINGTON (WTVD) -- Members of the House of Representatives are weighing many things, including the possibility of deploying troops to the Middle East, with their vote for Speaker of the House.

North Carolina Representative Deborah Ross, a Democrat from North Carolina, said she will not support Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan's candidacy for Speaker of the House. She and the entire Democratic Party have aligned against Jordan, who has not yet been able to get enough votes from his own party to secure the speakership.

Without a Speaker of the House, the House of Representatives cannot do the work of government.

"It is my great hope and it is my pledge to have the backs of our troops as soon as possible," Rep. Ross said. "When our troops go to help our allies, our government has got to be behind them 100 percent, and that is my intention."

Her comments come as the Senate just returned to Washington and the Biden Administration now has both chambers of Congress potentially poised to act.

However, the White House has yet to send an official list to Congress for them to approve.

"Ultimately, Congress has the power of the purse," Ross said. "And (Senate Majority Leader) Schumer has made it clear that if the House is not prepared to act, the Senate will move first. And that's why we need a Speaker of the House who cares about the institution who will support our allies -- Israel and Ukraine -- and who will work in a bipartisan way for the American people."

In the first vote of the day, the Ohio Congressman fell short of the votes needed to become the third most powerful person in Washington. Recent reporting from ABC News suggests a second vote will not happen until Wednesday morning.

At the same time, the Pentagon placed thousands of troops on heightened alert, making them prepared to deploy at a moment's notice.

"This week is the most important week to act," Rep. Ross emphasized. "And (Defense) Secretary Austin has used available resources up until now. But we clearly are going to have to appropriate additional funding going forward. So we have little time and we must use it wisely."