Speaker of the House
What a start to the year! While not quite at Ali-Frazier Thrilla in Manila level, Kevin McCarthy’s brutal 15-round speakership bout provided tons of drama and entertainment for Washington watchers. So what does the speaker of the House actually do?
The position is actually one of the most powerful in Washington, but not just because it is second in line to the presidency. Without a speaker, the new Congress can’t be sworn in, and many of our government’s basic processes for functioning come to a stall.
The speaker serves as the primary spokesperson for the House majority and helps to set the legislative agenda, including which bills or laws reach the floor for a vote.
He also controls committee assignments and helps to establish and enforce House rules and procedures. No speaker means no working Congress, which means no oversight of the White House, State Department, and Department of Defense.
While markets didn’t react to the House political chaos, the dysfunction clearly signals that House Republicans may struggle to pass budgetary bills and raise the debt ceiling later this summer. The upcoming political brinkmanship could lead to market volatility.
Check out Stifel’s Potomac Perspective to preview what may be in store.