The United States’ lower chamber is facing an imminent shut-down, meaning that legislators cannot agree upon spending for the upcoming year.
House Republicans hold 221 seats of the 435, just enough to command a majority.
However, 45 members of the house are in the far-right ‘House Freedom Caucus’ and have significant sway over the passage of appropriation bills.
They are now forcing a shutdown in opposition to the estimated $31 trillion debt owed by the US government.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Florida) led opposition to the election of Speaker Kevin McCarthy in January, which resulted in 15 rounds of voting and McCarthy giving significant concessions to Mr. Gaetz, namely reducing the threshold needed to call for a motion to vacate the chair from five representatives to one.
A temporary appropriation bill was passed in the senate to extend the deadline until mid-November; however, it has cost Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-California) his job.
Gaetz filed a motion to vacate the chair following the passage of the bill, finally pulling the plug on the tenure of McCarthy, who relied on Gaetz supporters to remain in situ.
McCarthy laughed and joked with fellow House Republicans prior to the vote, however when eight house republicans joined with democrats to oust McCarthy, the now former speaker did not show any emotion.
The final count was 216-210 in favour of vacating the chair, a first in US history, and the first time since 1910 that a vote of this type was called.
Prominent republicans Mike Pence and Newt Gingrich condemned the decision to remove McCarthy from his long-coveted role, further deepening the divide in the Republican Party.
Patrick McHenry (R-North Carolina) has assumed the position of speaker pro tempore. An election will be held following a meeting of the Republican members on 10 October.
This leaves the US at a precarious crossroads, as any speaker elected now must either rely on the support of the Democrats, further alienating far-right member such as Gaetz, or they will attempt to strike a bargain with Gaetz as McCarthy did, however unsuccessfully it ended up for him.
This crisis has emerged amidst a divided nation, which has been polarised by the wave of populism ushered in by former US president Donald Trump, who is currently re-campaigning for the Republican Party nomination for president.
A significant minority of the Republican Party caucus, namely the House Freedom Caucus, strongly oppose military and civil aid to Ukraine in their defence against the Russian war of aggression.
The growing ideological gap is no longer between the Republicans and the Democrats, as there is now a major fracture within modern American conservative politics.
The house will remain adjourned until the speaker pro tempore reconvenes for the election of the new speaker.
Democrats will field House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-New York), while the Republicans will pick a new leader by 10 October.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Green (R-Georgia) has suggested that Mr. Trump be elected speaker, which constitutionally may be allowed as there is no specific requirement for the speaker to be member of either house, however this has been damped by Trump denying any interest in the job.
The deadlock in DC continues, and the likelihood of a shutdown grows every day a new speaker is not elected.