Republicans voted to nominate Steve Scalise of Louisiana to be the next US House speaker, succeeding Kevin McCarthy who was deposed by party hardliners last week.
(Bloomberg) — Republicans voted to nominate Steve Scalise of Louisiana to be the next US House speaker, succeeding Kevin McCarthy who was deposed by party hardliners last week.
Scalise garnered the support of a slim majority, 113 of the 221 House Republicans. It is not yet clear whether he can win the 217 votes he needs on the House floor to win the speakership.
“Obviously we still have work to do,” Scalise said. “We are going to have to go upstairs on the House floor and resolve this.”
But Scalise’s rival for the post, conservative firebrand Jim Jordan, offered to formally nominate him on the House floor, a sign of movement toward unity.
Jordan had been endorsed by Donald Trump and Scalise’s nomination reflects the limits of the former president’s endorsement.
The chamber could vote as soon as Wednesday, with Democrats planning to unanimously cast their votes for their leader, Hakeem Jeffries. But there are already signs from lawmakers that Scalise has some work to get the support he needs, raising the prospects that the election could be delayed for days.
Jordan received 99 votes and some Republicans, including Representatives Lauren Boebert and Max Miller, plan to vote for Jordan on the floor, raising the prospects for a prolonged battle.
Representative Scott Perry, who chairs the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus, said he is “weighing” whether to vote for Scalise in the floor vote. Representative Tom Massie said as lawmakers filtered out of the nomination meeting that he didn’t believe Scalise yet had the votes to prevail on the House floor.
“It’s not over yet,” Massie told reporters. “That was the inside race, and now the outside race starts.”
Moderate Republicans and allies from southern states formed the core of Scalise’s support. Jordan was the favorite among members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, which he helped found. Both men are considered to be more conservative than McCarthy on fiscal matters, but Scalise is seen as less combative than Jordan.
If the House elects Scalise, it would allow the chamber to restart legislative work which stalled with McCarthy’s removal. Republicans and Democrats are looking to quickly pass aid for Israel in the aftermath of attacks from Hamas, and to resume work on funding bills needed to keep the government open after Nov. 17.
The chances of a federal shutdown in November remain high. McCarthy was ousted, in part, because he allowed a vote on a bipartisan temporary spending measure to prevent an Oct. 1 shutdown.
Scalise told Republicans behind closed doors on Tuesday that another short-term funding measure will be necessary to keep the government open next month. Putting such a bill on the floor could risk another revolt by hardliners.
Scalise was first elected to Congress in 2008 and has served in various House leadership roles since 2014. Scalise’s popularity among Republicans has only grown as he battled a series of health challenges. He was shot and wounded by an assailant at a congressional baseball practice in 2017 and in August announced he is receiving treatment for cancer.
–With assistance from Laura Litvan, Steven T. Dennis, Zach C. Cohen and Andre Tartar.
(Updates with Jordan offer to nominate in fourth paragraph)
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