Republican military veterans urge support for McCarthy: ‘It’s actually becoming detrimental to our nation’

A group of Republican military veterans held a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday to urge holdouts in the GOP to throw their support behind Rep.-elect Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House, arguing that the delay is 

‘The people standing behind me have regularly, consistently, over decades proven that they’re willing to put something greater than themselves above themselves,’ Rep.-elect Derrick Van Orden, R-Wisc., said at the briefing, noting that the group collectively has 291 years of military service between them. 

‘A minority of our party has decided that they want to continue with this obstructionism and it’s actually becoming detrimental to our nation,’ Van Orden added. ‘I will not stand for that.’

McCarthy failed to garner the 218 necessary votes to become speaker in six ballots between Tuesday and Wednesday. About 20 members of the House Freedom Caucus have so far refused to support the GOP leader. 

Until Republicans agree on a speaker, they cannot pass a rules package to determine how the House will operate, consider legislation, or begin the oversight of the Biden administration that candidates promised on the campaign trail. 

Rep.-elect Mike Gallagher, R-Wisc., said that he was supposed to be meeting with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs about ‘matters in the Indo-Pacific.’ 

‘But I’m informed by House security, that technically, I don’t have a clearance,’ Gallagher said at Wednesday’s briefing. 

‘It’s up to this Congress to restore deterrence, to restore peace through strength, but we aren’t able to do that vital work until we actually get past the speaker vote, populate our committees, and start getting to work.’

The House is set to reconvene on Thursday at 12:00 p.m. 

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