House lawmakers are returning to Washington with a crucial task at hand: electing a new speaker. The House of Representatives has been effectively paralyzed without a permanent leader, and this matter has gained added urgency due to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. Additionally, without an agreement, a government shutdown looms on November 17th, and there is still the need for fiscal year spending to be agreed upon.

Key Issues Surrounding the Selection of a Speaker

How the Votes Work

On Tuesday at 5 p.m. Eastern time, House Republicans will hold a forum to discuss the candidates. This forum serves as a debate among members to determine who is best suited for the speaker position. Candidates will present their pitches.

On Wednesday morning, House Republicans will proceed with a secret-ballot election to choose their nominee. This election is expected to take place at 9 a.m. Eastern time.

The next step will be the House floor vote for the speaker, but the exact timing of this vote is currently uncertain. It could potentially occur as soon as Wednesday. In January, former speaker Kevin McCarthy took 15 rounds of voting before securing the post.

To become the new speaker, a candidate must secure the votes of a majority of the members present and voting.

Who Is Running

The two main candidates from the GOP are Jim Jordan of Ohio, who serves as the House Judiciary Committee Chair, and Steve Scalise of Louisiana, who is the House Majority Leader.

As of Monday afternoon, there were discussions about Kevin McCarthy potentially rejoining the race. Some centrist Republicans are calling for his restoration as speaker in light of the attacks on Israel, expressing concern that the House remains paralyzed without a speaker and that a new candidate may not be agreed upon quickly.

McCarthy has not ruled out a return to the position if there is sufficient support for him to do so.

The Speaker of the House Race: Uncertainty and Impact

As the search for a new Speaker of the House continues, the stakes are high for the economy, markets, and even international relations. The recent ousting of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy has left a void that needs to be filled urgently. However, the situation is far from resolved, leading to increased uncertainty in Washington and beyond.

Potential Candidates and Unprecedented Options

The position of Speaker of the House does not require the individual to be a current member of Congress. This unique factor opens up a range of possible nominees, including former President Donald Trump. While no one has ever held this role without being a member of Congress, the absence of clear nominees introduces an intriguing dynamic to the race.

On the Democratic side, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York is expected to be nominated and receive support from his party. However, given the current minority status of Democrats, his chances of success are slim.

Impact on the Economy and Markets

Billionaire investor Ray Dalio issued a warning last week, stating that McCarthy's removal as speaker could pave the way for "civil war." Such a drastic shift in leadership contributes to a climate of uncertainty, affecting various aspects of the economy and financial markets.

Carl Ludwigson, managing director at Bel Air Investment Advisers, believes that the dysfunction in Washington will erode confidence in U.S. exceptionalism. This sentiment resonates with many as market volatility, particularly in interest rates, continues to rise. As McCarthy's ouster remains unresolved and another potential government shutdown looms, the instability further complicates efforts to maintain a functional government.

Potential Impact on Israel

In addition to economic concerns, there are implications for international relations. The election of a new Speaker of the House could expedite aid to Israel. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican, emphasized the urgency in getting a speaker elected promptly to address issues like replenishing the Iron Dome, Israel's crucial air-defense system.

In conclusion, the race for Speaker of the House is infused with uncertainty and has far-reaching consequences. The outcome will not only shape domestic politics but also impact the economy, markets, and international relations. The urgency to fill this leadership position cannot be understated as the nation grapples with multiple challenges on various fronts.

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