Home » Hakeem Jeffries isn’t speaker yet, but the Democrat may be the most powerful person in Congress

Hakeem Jeffries isn’t speaker yet, but the Democrat may be the most powerful person in Congress

by The Grio

WASHINGTON (AP) — Without wielding the gavel or holding a formal job laid out in the Constitution, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries might very well be the most powerful person in Congress right now.

The minority leader of the House Democrats, it was Jeffries who provided the votes needed to keep the government running despite opposition from House Republicans to prevent a federal shutdown.

Jeffries who made sure Democrats delivered the tally to send $95 billion foreign aid to Ukraine and other U.S. allies.

And Jeffries who, with the full force of House Democratic leadership behind him, decided this week his party would help Speaker Mike Johnson stay on the job rather than be ousted by far-right Republicans led by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.

“How powerful is Jeffries right now?” said Jeffery Jenkins, a public policy professor at the University of Southern California who has written extensively about Congress. “That’s significant power.”

The decision by Jeffries and the House Democratic leadership team to lend their votes to stop Johnson’s ouster provides a powerful inflection point in what has been a long political season of dysfunction, stalemate and chaos in Congress.

By declaring enough is enough, that it’s time to “turn the page” on the Republican tumult, the Democratic leader is flexing his power in a very public and timely way, an attempt to show lawmakers, and anyone else watching in dismay at the broken Congress, that there can be an alternative approach to governing.

“From the very beginning of this Congress, House Republicans have visited chaos, dysfunction and extremism on the American people,” Jeffries said Wednesday at the Capitol.

Jeffries said that with House Republicans “unwilling or unable” to get “the extreme MAGA Republicans under control, “it’s going to take a bipartisan coalition and partnership to accomplish that objective. We need more common sense in Washington, D.C., and less…

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