Some Republicans Rally For McCarthy Reinstallation Amid Israel Crisis

In the wake of recent catastrophic attacks by Hamas in Israel, some centrist Republicans are making moves to reinstate Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as Speaker of the House just a week after his unprecedented removal. With no Speaker currently leading the chamber and an international emergency on the table, the GOP finds itself in a precarious position.

Israel faced a sudden and devastating attack from Hamas, a Palestinian terrorist group, resulting in the tragic loss of hundreds of lives on Saturday. The absence of a House speaker highlights the limitations in the chamber’s ability to respond to such dire international events. As a key ally, Israel’s defense is crucial to U.S. interests. This urgency, coupled with the cumbersome, time-consuming process of electing a new speaker, has caused some in the GOP to argue for the immediate return of McCarthy.

McCarthy, pushed out by the joint effort of eight Republicans and all House Democrats, now finds himself a potential stabilizing force amid party turmoil. Ironically, the rule change that led to his removal was one he agreed to during his election. Regardless of party affiliation, it gave any House member the unilateral power to put forth a motion to vacate the speaker. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) leveraged this rule, prompting the Tuesday vote propelling McCarthy out of the position.

Several Republicans believe the severity of the situation in Israel could sway the eight GOP members who ousted him. “Using this moment to show how wrong they were,” said one House GOP lawmaker, there’s clear frustration toward those who once voted against McCarthy, an ardent supporter of Israel.

Former Speaker McCarthy seems aware of these developments but is staying notably neutral. He expressed during a chat with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt over the weekend that whatever the conference decides, he’s on board. “Whatever the conference wants, I will do,” he said.

Beyond McCarthy’s potential reinstatement, the current geopolitical crisis questions the capabilities of Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry (R-NC). While he holds some powers, McHenry’s authority is largely restricted by House rules. It makes it a challenge for him to actively participate or initiate votes concerning important policy matters, including allocating aid to Israel.

This week will be significant for the House. House Republicans are set to meet privately to iron out differences and discuss potential candidates for the speaker role. A candidate forum is scheduled for Tuesday, with a confidential vote on the speaker’s nomination by Wednesday.