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Publication says Cole may be considered for Speaker job; Brecheen holds up McCarthy certification

The Capitol Dome in Washington, D.C.
Drew Angerer
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Getty Images

If Kevin McCarthy can't muster up enough votes for the house speaker position, Oklahoma District 4 U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, may be considered, according to recent reporting from Indian Country Today.

McCarthy is only a handful of votes shy of becoming the leader of the Lower House. He's held up by a contingent of congressional members to the right of him, who have brought his vote below the 50% threshold by backing different candidates.

While ICT said emails to Cole's office inquiring about the congressman's interest in the position weren't returned, the publication pointed out that his name repeatedly comes up in discussions about the Speaker job. Cole was eyed for the position in 2015, but said at the time he wasn't interested.

If elected, Cole, who is a Chickasaw citizen, would be the highest ranking Indigenous federal official. He has a history of speaking up on tribal issues, including getting legislation passed so the Quapaw Nation could sue for damages over the Tar Creek Superfund site.

He signed off on a friend of the court brief in the Brackeen v. Haaland Supreme Court case involving the Indian Child Welfare Act. And he introduced the Cherokee and Chickasaw Nation Compacting Act in the wake of the 2020 Supreme Court decision in McGirt v. Oklahoma.

Congress is unable to vote on any legislation until a Speaker is elected by the House members. The Lower House will vote on as many ballots as necessary until a leader is chosen.

District 2 Rep. Josh Brecheen, R-Ada — Oklahoma's newest congressperson — cast his vote for Rep. Jim Banks, holding up McCarthy's certification.

Brecheen replaced Markwayne Mullin, who replaced Jim Inhofe in the Senate.

Mullin already outspoken in Senate

In the Senate, Mullin says his first priority will be addressing the nation’s immigration issue at the southern border.

"Over 100 known terrorists have been apprehended. How many have come across that we didn't catch?" Mullen said. "This is a huge crisis."

At least 98 people on the terrorist watchlist crossed the border in fiscal year 2022, but they were all stopped by border agents, and some could have crossed multiple times, according to AP.

While highly critical of President Biden’s stance, Mullin did not offer his proposed solution to the issue.

Mullin replaces retiring Sen. Jim Inhofe.