Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Nominated to Be House Speaker, Steve Scalise Is Left Searching for Republican Votes to Win the Gavel
gvw_ap_news
By Associated Press
Published 6 months ago on
October 12, 2023

Share

WASHINGTON — Having won the nomination to be the next House speaker, Rep. Steve Scalise is heading straight into a familiar Republican problem — skeptical GOP colleagues are reluctant to give their support, denying him the majority vote needed to win the gavel.

On Thursday, the House will open at midday in anticipation of floor action to elect the speaker. But it’s requiring Scalise to peel off more than 100 votes mostly from his chief rival, Rep. Jim Jordan, the Judiciary Committee chairman favored by hardliners as they dig in for a fight to replace Rep. Kevin McCarthy after his historic ouster from the job.

“We have a lot of work to do,” Scalise said after Wednesday’s internal party election.

A steady stream of some of the Republicans filed into Scalise’s office late into the evening, bringing their complaints, criticisms and demands as he worked to shore up support.

The scene is not fully different to the start of the year when McCarthy faced a similar backlash from a different group of far-right holdouts who ultimately gave their votes, then engineered his historic downfall.

Now entering week two without a speaker, and the House essentially unable to function, the pressure is on for Republicans to reverse course, reassert majority control and govern. The House was briefly gaveled in then closed Wednesday, an expected vote abandoned by nightfall.

“Steve’s going to have to talk to them all and see what their concerns are,” said McCarthy, who said he would be voting for Scalise.

What’s unclear is whether lawmakers who supported Jordan, the hard-liner backed by Donald Trump, will throw their support to Scalise in what is sure to be a close vote of the full House. Democrats are set to oppose the Republican nominee, easily nominating their leader, New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries.

Jordan said little after the 113-99 internal party ballot, only that the GOP majority “is divided.”

But Jordan did offer to give Scalise a nominating speech on the floor, in what would be a show of support during a vote. And Jordan himself plans to vote for Scalise, and is encouraging his colleagues to do the same, said a person familiar with the private talks and granted anonymity to discuss them.

A centrist leader, Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., said, “We do need to get a speaker in place so we can govern.”

“What we should have heard today after the vote count was: ‘I will heartily support Steve. Let’s get behind him,’” Bacon said. “We did not hear that.”

In a floor vote, Scalise would need to amass votes from almost all Republicans to overcome the Democratic opposition in the House that is narrowly split 221-212. Usually, the majority needed would be 218 votes, but there are currently two vacant seats, dropping the threshold to 217.

GOP Hoping to Avoid Another Messy Process

Many Republicans want to prevent the spectacle of a messy House floor fight like the grueling January brawl when McCarthy became speaker.

Behind closed doors, the Republicans voted to set aside a proposed a rules change that would have tried to ensure a majority vote before the nominee was presented for a full floor vote.

Without the rules change, the Republican lawmakers would be expected to agree to a majority-wins process. But several lawmakers announced they were not supporting Scalise.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., said she backed Jordan in the private ballot and would do so in the floor vote. Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., said he let Scalise know “he doesn’t have my vote on the floor.”

But Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, R-Fla., emerged from a meeting with Scalise saying he had guaranteed she could “aggressively” pursue her committee role investigating President Joe Biden, and had secured her vote.

Americans are watching. One-quarter of Republicans say they approve of the decision by a small group of Republicans to remove McCarthy as speaker. Three in 10 Republicans believe it was a mistake, according to a poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

At the White House, presidential press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, “We want to see the chaos be done with so that we can deliver for the American people.”

Neither Scalise nor Jordan was seen as the heir apparent to McCarthy, who was removed in a push by the far-right flank after the speaker led Congress to approve legislation that averted a government shutdown. The next deadline to fund the government is Nov. 17, again threatening federal closures.

All three men have been here before. In 2018, they were similarly vying for leadership, with McCarthy and Scalise extending the rivalry to this day.

Scalise was in line for the job this time after McCarthy’s ouster, but faced a challenge from Jordan, a founding member of the Freedom Caucus, who was viewed as a more hard-edged option.

Jordan is known for his close alliance with Trump, particularly when the then-president was working to overturn the results of the 2020 election, leading to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. Trump backed Jordan’s bid for the gavel.

Several lawmakers, including Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., who engineered McCarthy’s ouster, said they would be willing to support either Scalise or Jordan.

“Long live Speaker Scalise,” Gaetz said after the vote.

McCarthy had briefly floated a possible comeback earlier this week but the eight hard-liners who helped engineer his removal showed no signs of budging. He told his colleagues later not to put his name forward for a nomination.

At the speaker’s office, where McCarthy’s name had still been out front since his ouster last week, crews were seen carting boxes and artwork out of the stately suite in the Capitol.

For now, Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., who was named as the speaker pro-tempore, is effectively in charge. He has shown little interest in expanding his power beyond the role he was assigned — an interim leader tasked with ensuring the election of the next speaker.

The role was created in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to ensure the continuity of government. McHenry’s name was at the top of a list submitted by McCarthy when he became speaker in January.

RELATED TOPICS:

DON'T MISS

Trump Tried to ‘Corrupt’ the 2016 Election, Prosecutor Alleges as Hush Money Trial Gets Underway

DON'T MISS

The US is Expected to Block Aid to an Israeli Military Unit. What is Leahy Law That It Would Cite?

DON'T MISS

Ohtani Breaks Matsui’s HR Record as Dodgers Rip Mets to End Skid

DON'T MISS

Surprising Ways and Places You Can Use SNAP EBT Food Benefits

DON'T MISS

Californians Worry About Crime, Setting up a Ballot Measure Showdown

DON'T MISS

The Pickle Flavor Frenzy and Its Rise in Food Trends

DON'T MISS

Kate Hudson Had a Lifetime to Make a Record. The Result is ‘Glorious,’ Out in May

DON'T MISS

Long-Lost First Model of USS Enterprise from ‘Star Trek’ Boldly Goes Home

DON'T MISS

California Leaders Take Sides in Monumental Supreme Court Case on Homelessness

DON'T MISS

Man Sets Himself on Fire Outside Trump Hush Money Trial Court

UP NEXT

Man Sets Himself on Fire Outside Trump Hush Money Trial Court

UP NEXT

California Court to Decide on Transgender Ballot Measure Wording

UP NEXT

Rare House Vote Sees Ukraine, Israel Aid Advance as Democrats Join Republicans

UP NEXT

Full Jury and 6 Alternates Seated in Trump’s Hush Money Trial

UP NEXT

How 4/20 Grew From Humble Roots to Marijuana’s High Holiday

UP NEXT

Jury Selection Could Be Nearing a Close in Donald Trump’s Hush Money Trial in New York

UP NEXT

Who Owns Businesses in California? A Lawmaker Wants the Public to Know

UP NEXT

California Sets Long-Awaited Drinking Water Limit for ‘Erin Brockovich’ Contaminant

UP NEXT

Biden is Off on Details of His Uncle’s WWII Death as He Calls Trump Unfit to Lead the Military

UP NEXT

Biden Backs House’s Aid Package for Ukraine, Israel While Speaker Johnson Battles to Retain Position

Surprising Ways and Places You Can Use SNAP EBT Food Benefits

1 day ago

Californians Worry About Crime, Setting up a Ballot Measure Showdown

1 day ago

The Pickle Flavor Frenzy and Its Rise in Food Trends

2 days ago

Kate Hudson Had a Lifetime to Make a Record. The Result is ‘Glorious,’ Out in May

2 days ago

Long-Lost First Model of USS Enterprise from ‘Star Trek’ Boldly Goes Home

2 days ago

California Leaders Take Sides in Monumental Supreme Court Case on Homelessness

2 days ago

Man Sets Himself on Fire Outside Trump Hush Money Trial Court

3 days ago

McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines Are So Unreliable They’re a Meme. They Might Also Be a Climate Solution.

3 days ago

Real Estate Experts Talk Fresno’s Economic Future. Are Tough Times Ahead?

3 days ago

Unlocking the Secrets to Fresno State’s Superb Baseball Season

3 days ago

Trump Tried to ‘Corrupt’ the 2016 Election, Prosecutor Alleges as Hush Money Trial Gets Underway

NEW YORK — Donald Trump “orchestrated a criminal scheme to corrupt” the 2016 presidential election when he conspired to prevent damagi...

2 mins ago

2 mins ago

Trump Tried to ‘Corrupt’ the 2016 Election, Prosecutor Alleges as Hush Money Trial Gets Underway

25 mins ago

The US is Expected to Block Aid to an Israeli Military Unit. What is Leahy Law That It Would Cite?

36 mins ago

Ohtani Breaks Matsui’s HR Record as Dodgers Rip Mets to End Skid

1 day ago

Surprising Ways and Places You Can Use SNAP EBT Food Benefits

1 day ago

Californians Worry About Crime, Setting up a Ballot Measure Showdown

2 days ago

The Pickle Flavor Frenzy and Its Rise in Food Trends

2 days ago

Kate Hudson Had a Lifetime to Make a Record. The Result is ‘Glorious,’ Out in May

2 days ago

Long-Lost First Model of USS Enterprise from ‘Star Trek’ Boldly Goes Home

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend