House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, a Republican from Louisiana, secured the nomination as the GOP’s choice for Speaker of the House. This decision was reached after a simple majority vote, where Scalise defeated fellow Republican Rep. Jim Jordan from Ohio.
The battle for the speakership is now expected to shift to the House floor, potentially as early as Wednesday afternoon. Scalise’s quest for the position requires him to garner a minimum of 217 votes, a threshold that will test his ability to unify Republican support.
In a parallel move, the Democrats are anticipated to nominate House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries from New York, which suggests that the ultimate election will be a party-line vote.
However, Scalise’s nomination does not guarantee an uncontested path to becoming the Speaker. Some members within the GOP have indicated that they may nominate Jordan for the speakership, setting the stage for a potentially prolonged and contentious multiround election, reminiscent of the January episode when Rep. Kevin McCarthy from California secured the leadership position after 15 rounds of voting.
Notably, at least three GOP members have already expressed their intent to vote for someone other than Scalise on the House floor. Rep. Max Miller from Ohio, for instance, has declared that he will cast his vote exclusively for Jim Jordan. He remains adamant that he won’t consider supporting Scalise or any other candidate unless Jordan voluntarily withdraws from the race.
Miller’s stance reflects the sentiment that the process should not be dominated by a simple majority vote, considering the recent history where a mere 6% of the conference influenced the selection of the House Speaker. He stressed the need for a comprehensive reevaluation of all leadership options.
The closed-door nomination process was conducted via a secret ballot, making it unclear which members supported each candidate, except for those who publicly disclosed their votes. However, when the matter is brought to the floor, members will vocally announce their preferences.
This development follows the recent ousting of Rep. Kevin McCarthy from the Speaker’s position, a result of eight House Republicans joining forces with the Democrats to vacate the speaker’s chair. McCarthy subsequently announced that he would not seek re-election and urged fellow members not to nominate him.
In response to his nomination, Scalise declared that, as Speaker, his initial priorities would include “bringing a strong resolution expressing support for Israel” and advancing the House’s 12 appropriations bills ahead of the looming November 17 deadline, which marks the expiration of federal funding. A stopgap measure was passed to fund the government until that date, but McCarthy’s removal has intensified the pressure on lawmakers to align their spending legislation promptly.
The selection of Scalise and the competitive dynamics of this GOP nomination underscore the significance of the role of Speaker of the House and the fervent political climate that surrounds it. Scalise and Jordan had been the two prominent contenders for the position, with Jordan amassing considerable endorsements in the past week, setting the stage for a high-stakes showdown for the role of House Speaker.