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GOP Rep. Byron Donalds dismisses risks of prolonged House speaker vote chaos, says Biden ‘is right down the street’ if an actual crisis erupts

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Congressional reporters trail Republican Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida as he makes his way to a House Republican Caucus meeting at the US Capitol on November 14, 2022 in Washington, DC.Congressional reporters trail Republican Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida as he makes his way to a House Republican Caucus meeting at the US Capitol on November 14, 2022 in Washington, DC.

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  • Republican Rep. Byron Donalds blew off concerns about the ongoing House speaker fight.
  • House lawmakers can’t legally do anything until they are sworn in by an elected speaker.
  • “The President of the United States is right down the street,” Donalds said of the Biden backstop. 

Rep. Byron Donalds said he has no problem keeping the US House tied up in procedural knots as conservatives keep aspiring speaker Kevin McCarthy twisting in the wind because President Joe Biden should be able to handle any imminent threats. 

“We all know that if a national security crisis arises, the President of the United States is right down the street. And I would anticipate the President would act to secure the homeland to take care of the American people,” Donalds told reporters Wednesday at the US Capitol as Republicans remain deadlocked in a bruising leadership battle. 

Donalds was the latest beneficiary of the 20 no votes keeping McCarthy from fulfilling his lifelong dream of taking control of the chamber, peeling off enough support to block McCarthy from sailing through on three more losing ballots. 

The House remains paralyzed until a speaker is named, because elected members are legally powerless — unable to introduce bills, do committee work, or pass laws — until they are formally sworn in by a duly elected speaker. 

Donalds’ sudden vote of confidence in Biden — who called the brewing GOP rebellion a “little embarrassing” — seems odd, given that the Florida Republican has a YouTube channel filled with clips where he denounces the aging Delawarean as a “demagogue” and “autocrat.”

But having Biden fill in in a pinch sounds like it’ll have to do while Republicans sort out their philosophical differences, according to Donalds. 

“The President has dollars that have been appropriated, and he has some constitutional authorities to protect the homeland and do what needs to be done,” Donalds said, folding in a swipe at the leaders of the 117th Congress for passing a $1.7 trillion government funding bill that undercut the incoming House GOP majority’s leverage for federal budgeting. 

While acknowledging that House Republicans can’t try and exercise control over the federal purse strings until the speaker issue is resolved, Donalds insisted that seeing out this current fight trumps all for him.  

“When it comes to leveraging money to be spent in response, that’s something that the members will have to put into their calculus as well,” Donalds advised those getting skittish about the rolling speaker fight. “But that doesn’t mean that we should speed up our business here for some, some, you know, hyperbole that may exist at some point.”

Read the original article on Business Insider
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