(Mr. Long is not a member of Congress as the last Congress was adjourned for the last time on Tuesday, though Representative Elect Eric Burlison, the Republican who won the race to succeed him, has yet to be sworn in.)
Many Democrats initially enjoyed the dysfunction of a Republican-led House that couldn’t find a way to elect a speaker, with some social media pictures of popcorn mocking the discord. But others began to worry about practicalities, such as getting paid.
Texas Democrat Representative Colin Allred said on MSNBC Wednesday that he wasn’t sure if paychecks for members of Congress and their aides could still be paid, and said lawmakers could ask for back pay.
“The question is at some point whether the staff will be paid,” Mr Kildee said.
Rep. Chip Roy, a Texas Republican and one of Mr. McCarthy’s staunchest opponents, dismissed concerns about a non-functioning House and said Tuesday night that he didn’t think most Americans cared.
“Do you think anyone in America right now is saying, ‘Oh my God, there’s no speaker?'” he told reporters, adding that he believed there were untested legislative maneuvers the chamber could take to respond to an emergency, should one arise. ‘We are a body. We can file motions. We can do anything. If there is an emergency, we can do what we need to do.”
But legal experts doubted that an action by a no-speaker House — which is second in line to the presidency — could stand up to judicial scrutiny.
For more than 200 years, the House has used provisions from the Constitution and from a law passed in 1789 as the basis for its decision. Under the United States’ revised statutes, during the first session of Congress, the body must first swear in a speaker who then takes the oath of office to all members present, “prior to engaging in any other business.”