Republican rivals make high-stakes pitch for US House leadership

Two Republicans vying to lead the US House of Representatives make their pitches, as the party struggles to end a bitter civil war that has thwarted quick action on the Israel crisis and other urgent business.

The 221-strong Republican contingent that controls the lower chamber of Congress staged a “candidate forum” to pick a replacement for speaker Kevin McCarthy, who was ousted last week in a mutiny from the far right.

Neither of the declared candidates — Majority Leader Steve Scalise and Judiciary Committee chairman Jim Jordan — has won enough support to emerge as a clear frontrunner, raising fears of a prolonged paralysis on Capitol Hill.

The leadership vacuum had prompted speculation over a possible comeback by McCarthy so that Congress can pass legislation to address the crisis in Israel, which is reeling from a deadly weekend attack by Hamas terrorists.

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