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House speaker fight: Republicans, it’s time to unite around a plan, not a person

For House Republicans to unite and move forward, reason must prevail over faction. Some refer to factions within the political parties as “tribalism.” The goal is really to diminish the merits of alternative policy perspectives. The reality is that both Republicans and Democrats form diverse coalitions in an attempt to contain America’s diverse political views within two political parties. By definition, each party is effectively its own form of coalition government.

Now, Republicans confront the reality of having far more government than we can afford as we debate the role of Speaker of the House. Speaker Kevin McCarthy wrestled for years to build the coalitions necessary to govern the narrow majority. Nevertheless, there were fatal flaws in his coalition, and it collapsed once a small group became convinced that the commitment to break the status quo on appropriations was either insincere or no longer on a path to being achieved. While their motion to vacate was foolish in my opinion, saying their action was purely personal or without merit willfully avoids the principled objection to failure.

As I and many others cautioned, the motion to vacate without a plan for what would happen next has in fact been disastrous. Frankly, the idea that their risky action to vacate the chair could somehow result in a more conservative coalition that would address the broken appropriations process, prevented Jim Jordan from restoring unity with a similar coalition to Speaker McCarthy’s. This, of course, exposed other factions who had other objectives with this crisis.

Republicans must resolve the agenda that unites the conference and provide accountability for results in order to ensure everyone is motivated to achieve it. This is the ongoing debate that seeks resolution. 

Fortunately, reason can prevail. Getting everyone to trust a single person will be significantly harder than getting everyone to trust a shared mission. Whoever leads the mission should emerge as the next speaker and restore unity in our conference


Republican Warren Davidson represents Ohio’s 8th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. He spent 15 years starting, acquiring and growing manufacturing companies before replacing former Speaker John Boehner in the United States House. Davidson is a former Army Ranger. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and received an MBA from the University of Notre Dame.


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