The Press Herald’s Sept. 28 editorial, “Our View: House Republicans more devoted to infighting than governing,” points to the damage a government shutdown would cause. But there is a way moderate Republicans can put an end to the blackmail by their ultra-right faction.

In negotiating to become speaker, Kevin McCarthy gave in to the Freedom Caucus’ demand that a single Republican representative could call for a vote to elect a new speaker. That can be used by any Republican.

The Senate is working toward passing a bill to continue funding the government on a short-term basis. Many speculate that McCarthy will not even introduce the bill in the House for fear that a right-winger will trigger a new speaker election. That threat can simply be counterbalanced by any moderate Republican announcing they will trigger such a vote if the speaker does not introduce the bill within the next day.

Moderate Republicans should already be talking among themselves and with Democrats about a plan to elect a compromise speaker. After all, it’s the speaker of the House, not speaker of the Republicans, and in a closely divided House, that person should speak more broadly. The new speaker would be a moderate Republican who would seek consensus across the aisle, not one who cowers in fear of a tiny faction.

Moderate Republicans have the power to do what’s necessary and right for the country. All it takes is a bit of courage.

Richard Frenkel
Swampscott, Mass.

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