U.S. House Republicans eye Scalise, Jordan in speaker race
Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives will meet on Wednesday to choose between two candidates – Steve Scalise and Jim Jordan – to lead their narrow majority a week after a small group of dissidents ousted Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
As lawmakers gathered for the closed-door vote, neither candidate appeared to hold a clear advantage. Scalise, who is No. 2 on the leadership ladder, has drawn the support of many veteran and establishment Republican lawmakers, while Jordan, an outspoken leader of the party’s right wing, had the backing of many conservatives.
McCarthy could be in the mix as well, as he has not discouraged talk of a comeback, as could McCarthy ally Patrick McHenry, the acting speaker.
The secret-ballot vote is the start of what could a long and messy process to install a new speaker after a small faction of far-right Republicans deposed McCarthy last week and threw the chamber into chaos.
Even before lawmakers start voting on a speaker, they are expected to decide on what threshold is needed to win: a simple majority of Republicans, or an absolute total of 217 votes, enough to ensure victory in the full House.
Republicans, who control the House by a narrow 221-212 majority, say they need to quickly resolve a leadership vacuum that has prevented the House from addressing the war in Israel, approving more aid to Ukraine and passing spending bills before current funding runs out on Nov. 17.
Scalise and Jordan told Republicans at a closed-door forum on Tuesday night that they would each back the candidate chosen as nominee, an agreement that could help expedite matters.