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UPDATED: Pro-Ukrainian candidate for House Speaker drops from race following hard-liners' opposition

by Martin Fornusek October 24, 2023 11:18 PM 2 min read
U.S. House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (Republican Party) arrives to a House Republican caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol on Oct. 13, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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Editor's note: This news article initially reported on U.S. Congressman Tom Emmer's nomination for the House Speaker position. It was updated as soon as it became known that Emmer dropped his bid.

The Republican Party's latest nominee for the House Speaker position, Minnesota Congressman Tom Emmer, dropped out of the race following opposition from the hard-line faction close to former President Donald Trump, CNN reported on Oct. 24.

Holding the position of the Republicans' Majority Whip – responsible for the party's voting discipline in the House – Emmer emerged as the leading candidate after a series of internal ballots.

However, he dropped out from the race only hours after his nomination, while Trump publicly lashed out against his candidacy.

Emmer, who has a rocky relationship with the former president, is considered a "mainstream Republican" close to former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, whose ousting by the Trumpist faction left the speaker's seat empty for weeks.

The Republican whip has a solid record of supporting pro-Ukrainian initiatives in the House of Representatives. The Republicans for Ukraine, a coalition of pro-Kyiv party members, rated Emmer with a maximum positive score.

"Vladimir Putin's unwarranted invasion of Ukraine is a result of weak leadership on the world stage," Emmer said at the start of the Russian full-scale invasion in February 2022.

"Our hearts go out to the Ukrainian people and their families as they bear the brunt of these unlawful actions, and our response to these aggressions must be done in a swift and unwavering manner that holds Russia... to account."

The vacant speaker's seat has serious consequences for Kyiv, as U.S. President Joe Biden needs Congress approval for his $105 billion funding package, which includes over $61 billion for Ukraine.

The failure of Republicans, who hold a slim majority in the House, to elect a new speaker is effectively blocking the legislative process needed for the approval of the aid.

Biden all in on aid to Ukraine, yet House remains an issue
In a prime-time address from the White House, U.S. President Joe Biden said he was going to send Congress an “urgent” funding request for aid to Ukraine and Israel on Oct. 20. The administration will attempt to push for $105 billion in assistance to Ukraine and Israel, as the
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