Thursday 12 October 2023

Scalise Faces Uphill Battle Convincing House Republicans To Support His Bid For Speaker

 Several GOP lawmakers raised objections about backing House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) as the next Speaker of the House after the Louisiana Republican clinched the nomination during a closed-door vote on Wednesday.

House Republicans voted 113-99 to nominate Scalise over Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, who first announced his bid to claim the gavel last week following the chamber’s historic removal of former Speaker Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). McCarthy told reporters he would support the current GOP nominee and wasn’t involved in swaying other lawmakers opposition of him.

“Steve is going to have to talk to them all, see what their concerns are, but I support Steve,” McCarthy said.

Scalise will need to secure 217 votes on the floor. Still, as it stands, he currently lacks support from a critical bloc of Republicans who mostly favored Jordan after the Ohio Republican received former President Donald Trump’s endorsement.

“I think the leader is a really great man, and I’ve committed publicly to voting for Jim Jordan on the floor,” Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) told reporters, according to CNN. “My main concerns are the way this place is run. I think that there’s a problem with leadership in our conference.”

Boebert is one of several Freedom Caucus members holding out on Scalise, who reportedly has some lawmakers skeptical of his leadership. Other members of the group, including Virginia Rep. Bob Good, Alabama’s Barry Moore, and Texas Reps Michael Cloud and Chip Roy, remain undecided on their support.

“I talked to Steve,” Roy reportedly said. “As I said earlier, I was unhappy with the way things unfolded this morning. We should figure this out behind closed doors as a conference before we started moving towards the floor.”

POLITICO reported earlier Wednesday that House Republicans refused to change a set of internal rules that would require 217 of the 221 GOP lawmakers to agree on the next speakership role before the vote hits the floor, which Roy co-sponsored.


“There was an effort after we did not agree to do that to start moving towards the floor today, and some of us said, ‘woah woah, let’s all hold your horses,’ let’s figure out where we are because we don’t want to be on the floor until we have 217,” he said.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) told CNN the Freedom Caucus members would support a Jordan speakership despite him telling them to shift their vote toward Scalise. Greene voiced her concerns over Scalise’s health, who is currently battling blood cancer.

Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina told CNN she would not support Scalise after learning about the lawmaker speaking to a white supremacist group founded by former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke in 2002.

“I’m trying to reconcile it, and right now I can’t,” Mace said.

The speech happened before he entered Congress while appearing in front of different Louisiana groups as a state representative to build support for legislation he proposed at the time. Scalise later issued a statement of regret and rejected the organization’s racist ideology.

Mace later said during a separate interview she would vote for Jordan “for several rounds” and not move from that position “at least initially.”

Rep. Anna Paulina Luna of Florida reportedly said she felt “comfortable” enough to support the Speaker nominee.

“After talking to Representative Scalise, I feel very confident he’s going to allow me to aggressively pursue justice for this country and this nation,” Luna said. “And so I’ll be supporting him on the floor.”

In her personal Instagram story on Wednesday night, Luna posted a text image saying that after speaking with Scalise, she “feels confident he will be supportive of the following items,” which include “Defund[ing]” DOJ Special Counsel Jack Smith, an impeachment vote, and issuing a subpoena against Hunter Biden.

House lawmakers were told the lower chamber of Congress would not hold a speaker vote Wednesday evening and would reconvene Thursday around noon, Fox News reported.

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