In a surprising turn of events, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) has won the GOP nomination for the next House Speaker, according to recent reports. However, it seems that Jordan still has a long way to go in securing a majority. In the secret balloting held this afternoon, Jordan received 124 votes, while Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA) received 81 votes, according to Punchbowl News. The situation is still unclear, and it remains to be seen what comes next.
Yesterday, Majority Leader Steve Scalise announced that he was withdrawing from the race for Speaker of the House, just one day after winning his party’s nomination. This further adds to the disarray in the House Republican caucus. Scalise acknowledged that there is still work to be done and that the conference has not yet come together. He called for everyone to put their agendas aside and focus on what the country needs. He also emphasized that there are still unresolved schisms within the caucus.
With Scalise out of the running, attention now turns to Jordan as a potential alternative. However, it is uncertain whether Jordan can win over enough moderates in the caucus to secure the speakership. He may face the same difficulties that Scalise encountered in rallying enough support. Jordan did offer to nominate Scalise on the floor, but only if Scalise reciprocated if he didn’t reach the required 217 votes on the first ballot. This offer was viewed by some Scalise supporters as a ploy to gain the support of Jordan’s backers. Other options being considered include increasing the powers of the current speaker pro tem, Rep. Pat McHenry (R-NC), or even nominating former President Donald Trump, though the latter is seen as highly unlikely.
The divisions within the House Republican caucus were on full display during a closed-door meeting of the party yesterday. A block-long line of journalists awaited the lawmakers’ exit, and it became apparent that the GOP was far from unified. Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) described the situation as “frustrating” and mentioned that it was more of a member-to-member issue rather than a five-families deal. Despite narrowly winning the party’s nomination, Scalise still faces an uphill battle in securing the necessary votes to become Speaker.
The disunity within the caucus has caused delays in taking action on legislation and has created a growing to-do list for Congress. Issues such as an aid package for Israel and government funding legislation are now at stake. Amidst the chaos, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) defended her tweet from Wednesday, where she stated that she wasn’t supporting Scalise due to his ongoing cancer treatment. Greene cited the need to put the best players on the field and called for the speaker vote to be taken to the floor.
However, not all members agree with this approach. Donalds expressed opposition to a public, drawn-out speaker process and emphasized the need for the GOP to work out its leadership selection internally. The divisions within the caucus raise doubts about whether the GOP can maintain its majority in the House.
The situation remains fluid, with Scalise scheduled to meet with members later tonight. It is unclear whether this meeting will include the entire caucus. Other ideas, such as granting more powers to the current speaker pro tem, have met with opposition within the conference. Republicans are becoming increasingly frustrated and eager to get to work on the pressing issues facing the country.
In a further sign of uncertainty, the House speaker vote, originally planned for today, has been delayed. This suggests that Scalise doesn’t have enough votes to win the speakership. While he received support from Jordan, the narrow Republican majority in the House means that Scalise can only afford to lose a few GOP votes. Democrats, on the other hand, are expected to remain united behind their party leader, Hakeem Jeffries.
The race for House Speaker is far from settled, and the turmoil within the House Republican caucus continues. As the GOP seeks to unite and find a candidate who can garner enough votes, the future of the speakership remains uncertain.