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Republicans Nominate Steve Scalise for House Speaker Amidst Intra-Party Discord and Delays in Formal Election

by Ryan Lee
10 comments
House Speaker Nomination

On Wednesday, Republicans put forth Rep. Steve Scalise as their nominee for the next Speaker of the House. However, the party faced challenges in swiftly consolidating their divided majority to officially elect Scalise through a public floor vote. This follows the unexpected removal of Rep. Kevin McCarthy from the Speaker’s role.

In a confidential vote at the Capitol, House Republicans marginally favored Scalise, the current Majority Leader, over Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee known for his outspoken demeanor. Scalise, a Louisiana congressman who is contending with blood cancer, has earned the admiration of many for surviving a 2017 shooting aimed at legislators during a congressional baseball practice.

“Much needs to be accomplished,” remarked Scalise subsequent to the internal vote.

Although a full House floor vote was anticipated, Republican discord has paralyzed the House’s function following McCarthy’s abrupt ouster last week. The House briefly convened only to adjourn indefinitely, leaving the path forward unclear.

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The current turmoil within the party comes at a time of domestic instability and international crisis, as the House remains without a Speaker for the second consecutive week. Despite sweeping into power just 10 months ago with aspirations of effective governance, the Republican majority has veered far off course.

Scalise emphasized, “It’s imperative that we convey to the global community that the House is committed to executing the will of the American people.”

Uncertainty lingers over whether supporters of Jim Jordan, a hardliner endorsed by Donald Trump, will rally behind Scalise in what is expected to be a closely contested full House vote. Meanwhile, Democrats are expected to oppose the Republican nominee, nominating their own leader, New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, with ease.

Jordan remained reticent post-vote, noting only that the GOP majority “is fractured.” However, he did offer to deliver a nominating speech for Scalise, signaling potential unity.

Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., a centrist figure, asserted, “We must install a Speaker to govern effectively.” Bacon expressed disappointment that stronger support for Scalise was not immediately vocalized within the party.

According to a poll from The Big Big News-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, American sentiment is split on the GOP’s internal matters. About one-quarter of Republicans approve of the decision to remove McCarthy, while three in 10 see it as an error.

Presidential press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre commented, “The ongoing chaos needs to conclude so as to serve the American populace.”

The faction that forced McCarthy’s removal demonstrates the disproportionate influence a small group can wield in determining his successor. To win the floor vote, Scalise must garner nearly unanimous Republican support to offset Democratic opposition. The typical majority requirement is 218 votes, but current vacancies lower this to 217.

The GOP majority aims to avert a tumultuous floor vote akin to the protracted battle that accompanied McCarthy’s initial election. During a closed-door meeting, Republicans decided not to alter rules that would have mandated a majority vote prior to presenting the nominee for a full House vote.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., and Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., both declared their lack of support for Scalise, signaling continued divisions within the party.

Neither Scalise nor Jordan was viewed as the natural successor to McCarthy, whose removal was instigated by far-right members after he oversaw the passing of legislation that prevented a government shutdown.

Scalise, Jordan, and McCarthy have been in similar leadership contests before, with the rivalry between McCarthy and Scalise persisting.

Currently, Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., serves as the Speaker pro-tempore and acts as the interim leader focused on facilitating the election of the next Speaker. This provisional role was established following the 9/11 attacks to ensure governmental continuity.


Contributions to this report were made by Big Big News writers Farnoush Amiri and Stephen Groves.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about House Speaker Nomination

Who has been nominated by the Republicans for the position of House Speaker?

Rep. Steve Scalise has been nominated by the Republicans to be the next House Speaker.

Why is there a delay in the formal election of the new House Speaker?

The delay is due to internal divisions within the Republican Party, as well as the lingering discord following the unexpected removal of the previous Speaker, Rep. Kevin McCarthy.

Who is Rep. Jim Jordan and what role did he play in the nomination?

Rep. Jim Jordan is an Ohio Congressman and Chairman of the Judiciary Committee. He was narrowly defeated by Scalise in a confidential vote among House Republicans for the Speaker nomination.

What is the current situation within the Republican Party?

The GOP is currently divided and experiencing internal conflicts, particularly after the removal of Kevin McCarthy. These divisions are hampering effective governance and have left the House without a Speaker for the second consecutive week.

What was the public reaction to the GOP’s internal matters?

According to a poll from The Big Big News-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, one-quarter of Republicans approve of the decision to remove McCarthy as Speaker, while three in 10 believe it was a mistake.

What is the Democratic Party’s stance on the Republican nominee?

The Democrats are expected to oppose the Republican nominee, Steve Scalise, and will likely nominate their own leader, New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries.

What is the minimum number of votes needed to elect the new Speaker?

Typically, 218 votes are required to elect a new Speaker. However, due to current vacancies, the threshold has been lowered to 217.

Who is currently overseeing the responsibilities of the Speaker?

Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., serves as the Speaker pro-tempore and is effectively in charge in an interim capacity until the next Speaker is elected.

What are the expectations for a full House vote?

A full House vote is anticipated, but the timing is uncertain due to ongoing tensions within the Republican Party. Scalise will need nearly unanimous Republican support to offset Democratic opposition.

What has been the White House’s reaction to the ongoing situation?

Presidential press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has stated that the chaos needs to conclude so as to better serve the American people.

More about House Speaker Nomination

  • Steve Scalise Nominated as House Speaker
  • The Ousting of Kevin McCarthy
  • GOP Internal Divisions Explained
  • The Role of Jim Jordan in Speaker Nomination
  • Public Reaction to GOP’s Internal Conflicts
  • Democratic Party’s Stance on House Speaker Nomination
  • Voting Thresholds for House Speaker Election
  • Patrick McHenry as Interim Speaker
  • White House Reaction to House Speaker Situation
  • The Impact of Internal GOP Struggles on Governance

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10 comments

Samantha Davis October 11, 2023 - 11:54 pm

Intrigued to see how this plays out. House without a Speaker for two weeks? That’s got to be some kinda record.

Reply
Linda Chen October 12, 2023 - 12:09 am

Who would’ve thought that McCarthy’s removal would leave such a vacuum? GOP has a lot of work to do, and quickly.

Reply
Robert Young October 12, 2023 - 2:02 am

This just shows how much politics has changed. Never seen this level of infighting in a party that’s supposedly the majority.

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Tom Roberts October 12, 2023 - 7:32 am

Scalise or Jordan, whoever it is needs the full backing of the party. cant have a Speaker without full support, right?

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Mike O'Brien October 12, 2023 - 8:42 am

jeez, can’t believe its been 2 weeks and still no Speaker. Looks bad on both sides of the aisle to be honest.

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William Clark October 12, 2023 - 9:03 am

Scalise seems like a decent choice but who knows these days. internal politics can change everything overnight.

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Emily Smith October 12, 2023 - 11:57 am

How does this even happen. Clearly the GOP is more fractured than we thought. It’s not just about left and right anymore.

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Anna Johnson October 12, 2023 - 1:57 pm

Dems must be loving this, watching the GOP tear themselves apart. But honestly, it’s bad for everyone if the House can’t even elect a Speaker.

Reply
James Thompson October 12, 2023 - 3:39 pm

Wow, what a mess the Republicans are in! Never thought I’d see the day when they can’t even decide on a Speaker.

Reply
Maria Wilson October 12, 2023 - 4:31 pm

This is what happens when a party is divided. GOP needs to figure out their internal issues fast, if they wanna govern effectively.

Reply

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