WASHINGTON (NEWSnet/AP) —  Republicans picked Rep. Tom Emmer as their nominee for House speaker on Tuesday, as they try for a third time to fill the top leadership vacancy and get Congress back to work.

Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota, is currently serving as the Majority Whip. He is in his fifth term in Congress. He easily took the lead in private balloting among a field of those who were lesser known.

While this is a critical step in the process, it is not the final one.

Democrats have been voting for their leader, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, at every ballot; which means the Republicans need to come to a consensus to choose a speaker from within their own ranks. Nearly every GOP vote will be needed for a candidate to get an actual majority on the floor.

The list who decided to seek the Republican nomination this time was nine on Monday, had narrowed to eight by Tuesday morning, and whittled down even further as internal voting rounds took place.

Rep. Patrick McHenry is interim speaker pro tempore, but his authority is limited. The situation leaves the House in a stalemate because little business can be done until the position is filled. The federal government risks a shutdown if Congress fails to pass funding legislation by a Nov. 17 deadline to keep services and offices running.

This term began with Rep. Kevin McCarthy as speaker, but members of his own party forced him out of leadership three weeks ago. Reps. Steve Scalise and Jim Jordan were considered in recent days, but neither got enough votes to earn the speaker role.

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