The House Faces a Familiar Enemy: Instability

Alex Brandon / Associated Press

Medha Sharma

Since its founding in 1789, the U.S. House of Representatives has played a vital role as half of the legislative branch of the government, and is needed for the American system of  checks and balances. The goal of the two chamber design of the U.S. congress was to keep one person or group from having too much power. The House has 435 members, with all 50 states re-electing a certain number of representatives every two years depending on their population. In the House of Representatives, the Speaker of the House decides the legislative schedule, which decides when bills are voted on. The Speaker is decided upon by the political party with the most seats in the House of Representatives, and is second in the presidential line of succession (History.com). 

In the past few months, the House of Representatives has faced a lot of instability. Due to the close margin of the majority party of speakers, with just eight Republican votes, Former Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy was removed from his position on October 3rd when he was ousted  (CNN). With such a small majority making such a large impact, American are starting to question the strength and cohesiveness of their government. In some ways, the turmoil in the House is cognizant of the overarching changes in how the political parties interact. While the house is a bargaining “arena” where both sides can discuss the way in which the United States as a whole should address their issues, it can seem that the party’s are “treat[ing] deals with the other party as betrayals of principle and failures of nerve” (NYTimes).

On October 25th, Mike Johnson was elected to be the new Speaker. A Louisiana Republican, Johnson has been a member for a short six years before he was elected for this tremendous job. Although President Biden and Mike Johnson have differing views on a multitude of important political issues, Biden has said that they will put in a “mutual effort to find common ground wherever we can” (NBC). From the turbulence in the Middle East and Ukraine to the Opioid crisis, it is vital that the government is united, and able to pass these issues without conflict. 

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