The Leaderless House Faces Trouble Ahead


After a historic vote to remove Kevin McCarthy from the speakership, House Republicans agreed last night to spend the next week without a formal leader. That means that no votes will be held, no legislation will be passed and the House of Representatives will be effectively powerless until a new speaker is elected.

The paralysis is the result of the chamber’s narrow political margins and a zealous faction of right-wing rebels who are eager for confrontation and largely uninterested in governing. There are also no signs to suggest that the chaos will end with McCarthy’s ouster, our Capitol Hill correspondent, Catie Edmondson, told me.

At the same time, the race to replace McCarthy has already begun. Steve Scalise, the second-ranking House Republican, and Jim Jordan, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, announced their bids. But it’s not immediately clear that either of them — or that any candidate — will be able to garner the support of virtually the entire Republican conference and avoid the barriers McCarthy ran into.

“Right now, you have a group of Republicans in the House who have shown they are willing to take the speaker hostage if they don’t use the U.S. Congress as a bargaining chip for what they want,” Catie said.

Unless a new speaker is able to quickly find a way to unite the House’s Republican majority, the chamber’s dysfunction will begin putting a strain on people across the country, and the world. Government funding runs out in just over six weeks, and the next speaker will likely need to work across the aisle in order to keep federal agencies functioning.

“There’s treacherous terrain ahead,” Catie said.

Kaiser Permanente, a system that provides health care for 13 million Americans, failed to reach a new contract agreement with some of its unionized employees, and today tens of thousands of its workers began a three-day strike. Doctors and many nurses were not involved, but the strike includes X-ray technicians, sanitation workers and pharmacy staff. The action could cause delays for patients — especially in California — seeking medical appointments, lab results and prescriptions.

Mayor Eric Adams asked a judge to suspend New York City’s longstanding obligation to provide shelter to anyone who asks. Adams, who has struggled to find housing for thousands of migrants arriving from the southern border, argued that the city should be able to temporarily lift the mandate during an emergency.

Critics said that the change would gut protections for new arrivals and for longer-term New Yorkers, and would cause a surge in homeless people living on the street.

The Catholic Church today kicked off a synod at the Vatican, a multiyear assembly of bishops from around the world, to discuss sensitive topics including priestly celibacy, the blessing of gay couples and the ordination of female deacons.

The meeting could be the culmination of Pope Francis’ papacy and lay the groundwork for lasting change, though there is no guarantee that it will produce anything at all. Traditionalist prelates have denounced the assembly and urged Francis to slam the door shut on proposals they believe would erode the doctrine of the church.

Alicia Keys has led an extraordinary life: She is a classically trained pianist, wrote her first song around 11, signed a recording contract at 15 and became a bona fide R&B superstar.

Now, at 42, she has been developing “Hell’s Kitchen,” an Off Broadway musical based on her adolescence in a then-gritty New York neighborhood, which opens later this month. Even though Keys is not in it, demand is high: Each time more tickets go on sale, they are snatched up.

Fall is the perfect time of year to explore the American landscape. The trees are blazing color, the weather is cool and, in many places, the wildlife is active. And there are few better ways to revel in the season than by cycling down out-of-the way dirt or gravel roads and paths.

With more stability than a road bike and more precision than a mountain bike, gravel riding can be the perfect middle ground for both beginners and enthusiasts. Want to give it a try? Here are five spectacular destinations to explore on two wheels.

As people in much of the world flocked to see Greta Gerwig’s blockbuster film “Barbie” this summer, viewers in Russia were left out. Warner Bros. stopped releasing movies in the country after last year’s invasion of Ukraine. But that hasn’t stopped locals from finding a workaround.

For around $5, cinemas around Russia are offering tickets for short films or documentaries that come with a bonus: During the preview slot, the theaters screen the entire “Barbie” film.

Have a creative night.

Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow. — Matthew

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