Rep. Mike McCaul (R-Texas), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, on Sunday said the absence of an elected speaker sends a “terrible message” to U.S. rivals amid another crisis on the world stage following the Hamas attack on Israel.
The attack prompted Israel to declare war on Hamas, and the death toll from this weekend’s assault has topped 1,200 as the fighting continues. So far, at least nine U.S. citizens have been killed, according to a National Security Council spokesperson.
McCaul told CNN’s “State of the Union” the leadership void in the House of Representatives is far from ideal under the current circumstances.
“It wasn’t my idea oust the speaker,” McCaul said. “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, when we’re dysfunctional, when we don’t even have a speaker of the House?”
McCaul continued: “I think it sends a terrible message.”
But the Texas Republican said it’s imperative for the GOP to now act “quickly” to pick a new speaker.
“We have to get a speaker elected this week so we can get things on the floor like replenishing the Iron Dome,” McCaul told CNN’s Dana Bash, referring to Israel’s missile defense system.
McCarthy, in an interview with Fox News on Saturday, noted the House is paralyzed until they can bring in a new person to lead the chamber.
“There is nothing the House can do until they elect a speaker, and I don’t know if that happens quickly,” McCarthy said. “The speaker is part of the ‘Gang of 8’ that takes action to be able to have briefing.”
The Senate is also on recess this week.
So far, Reps. Jim Jordan (Ohio) and Steve Scalise (La.) have announced they’re running for the job. McCaul noted that they are both “strong” candidates, but did not endorse either. He said, though, he would like to avoid a spectacle like the 15 rounds of votes it took for McCarthy to get the speakership in January.
“I don’t think any of us want to go through that again,” McCaul said. “I think we’re ready to unify as a conference, unify around one speaker and not have this civil war…disrupt the legislative process.”