3 Reasons Why The House Speakership Election Is Important for Wauwatosa Students (Opinion)


Aidan Barney, Editor

Since the beginning of the new Congress on Tuesday January the 3rd the House of Representatives has been in turmoil as the new Republican majority has failed to agree on who should be Speaker of the House. Something which has not happened since 1923. 

As of January 5th 2023, the popular nominee for the Republican, Kevin McCarthy has lost 11 consecutive votes on becoming the next Speaker of the House, which leaves many questions about what this means for the future of the country in this next Congress. 

So, what is happening and why does it matter to students in Wauwatosa?

Nothing Will Get Done

Something important to understand is the Speaker of the House is the person who calls legislation to the floor for a vote. Since a Speaker has yet to be elected, the House does not have the ability to call on legislation. 

This means that any issue you care about cannot be acted on whatsoever until a Speaker is chosen. The biggest example is the issue of the economy. Republicans ran on this issue and it helped them secure a majority of seats in the House. Due to the current rise in inflation that has been going on throughout the last year. Despite this being the message they ran on, they will not be able to propose their solution to this issue until the House has selected a Speaker, which will cause the country to have to continue to deal with this current inflation without any movement from Congress because of this historic gridlock.

Taxation without representation

In the House, the Representatives cannot be sworn in office until the Congress selects a Speaker which they have failed to do. 

If this continues, it will lead to a very large issue in which every single American right now is not represented in the House. There have been some claims from Republicans voting against McCarthy that this is actually a good thing, Representative Lauren Boebert of Colorado said on January 4th. “I see it as Congress not spending money they don’t have. The taxpayers are actually winning here because Congress hasn’t organized.”  and while she is free to claim that it simply is not true there was a period before the new congress in which spending bills were passed which the taxes still pay for as well as the fact that the taxpayers are still going to be paying for their Representatives salary. Representatives which, mind you, have not even been sworn in yet. This is in direct conflict with the very reason we decided to revolt against Great Britain in the first place. No taxation without representation. Should a speaker not be chosen soon we will continue to not have representation but we will still have taxation despite it.

A Clear Preview

The current Republican majority being unable to agree on who should be the Speaker is likely a clear preview of how effective this Congress’s governing will truly be. 

This majority is unable to agree on the most basic thing of electing their leader in this Congress. This prompts a discussion of whether or not the Congress can do it’s job even after a speaker ends up being elected. The congress is going to end up being ruled by a select few members who will pull out of a vote as soon as they feel angered by whoever ends up being speaker. And should McCarthy manage to win the speakship this will be especially true since many of his detractors just personally don’t like him and will vote against what he wants to pass just so that he doesn’t get what he wants. The new Congress will be 2 years of a small group of people control 90% of the legislation that goes to the Houses in order to ensure they get more power in the house and the media attention they’ve enjoyed so much over these past few days.

So, Why Should we all care?

First, we should care simply because the people who were elected are not doing the thing we elected them to do:govern. 

Second, I think it’s most important for us to understand that this isn’t just normal politics, this is twenty congressmen and women decided that they would rather get media attention and be in public visibility than govern for the people whom they were elected to serve and the simply fact is that they are preventing our government from functioning. 

Third, even after a Speaker is elected they will continue to do this just so that they can get the attention that they so desperately want, as the American people it is our job to hold these people accountable and make our views publicly known to them by making sure we continue to engage in the process.