House lawmakers are at their wit’s end at the inability to elect a Speaker as it’s blocking them from being able to conduct matters relating to national security, given they have yet to be sworn in and currently lack security clearance.
At a press conference on Thursday (January 5), Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) lamented being unable to enter the sensitive compartmented information facility (SCIF).
The SCIF is a room lawmakers enter to discuss top-secret information with national security officials.
But Gallagher highlighted how security blocked him from entering the room when he was going to meet the Joint Chiefs of Staff to discuss “matters in the Indo-Pacific.”
Gallagher mentioned his position on the Intel Committee and Armed Services Committee before explaining this his “point is [lawmakers] have work to do that we can’t do right now.”
Other Republican lawmakers joined Gallagher at the press conference to plead for a resolution to Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s pursuit of the Speaker’s gavel.
Matters of national security have taken center stage as McCarthy’s allies attempt to pressure detractors by sounding the alarm on the issue.
The plea came as McCarthy failed to win the Speaker’s bid on the eighth vote — something he still hadn’t acquired by the 11th vote and subsequent adjournment until noon on Friday.
The incoming chairs of the House Armed Services, Intelligence, and Foreign Affairs committees have also underlined national security in a statement they released on Thursday.
In the statement, Republican Reps. Michael McCaul (Texas), Michael Turner (Ohio), and Mike Rogers (Ala.) mentioned the lack of “oversight of the White House, State Department, Department of Defense, or the intelligence community.”
The three tried to reason with their colleagues, explaining that “personal politics” shouldn’t be prioritized over the U.S.’s safety.