Uncertainty Surrounds Rep. Steve Scalise’s Bid for House Speaker as Votes Remain Unsecured

Rep. Steve Scalise, a Republican from Louisiana, has emerged as the party's nominee for the next speaker of the House. However, his path to securing the role is uncertain, as he still needs to secure the votes of nearly every member of his party. The vote to nominate Scalise took place on Wednesday, but he only received 113 votes out of the 217 needed to win. While many Republicans are expected to fall in line, a handful of defections could sink his chances.

Scalise faced competition from Jim Jordan for the Republican speaker nomination, and some lawmakers loyal to Jordan may still push back against Scalise.[0] Representative Max Miller has already stated that he will vote for Jordan on the floor, even if Scalise receives the caucus nomination.[0] Other representatives may follow suit. Additionally, Representative Ken Buck has declared that he will vote for neither candidate, further complicating the process.[0]

There were speculations that Scalise's bid could face the same uphill battle as Kevin McCarthy's, as Democrats are unlikely to support the election of a Republican speaker.[1] Furthermore, the anonymous vote among House Republicans revealed a stark division within the party.[1] However, new reports suggest that Jordan has offered to nominate Scalise on the floor and support his colleague instead of continuing to seek the speakership.[1]

Despite winning the conference vote, Scalise still needs to secure more votes to become the next speaker. It remains to be seen how stubborn the holdout Republicans will be and whether Jordan will drop out of the running and endorse Scalise.[2] Representative Lauren Boebert has already stated that she will vote for Jordan on the floor, raising further uncertainty.[2]

Scalise, currently serving as the House Majority Leader, is gaining traction among establishment House Republicans to succeed McCarthy.[3] He is considered more conservative than McCarthy but not as far to the right as Jordan, making him a potential unifying force within the GOP.[4] Scalise has risen through the ranks of leadership during his time in Congress, previously serving as House GOP whip and leading the Republican Study Committee.[3]

Scalise's bid for the speakership is not without controversy.[5] It was disclosed in 2014 that he had addressed a gathering of white nationalists in 2002.[4] He later apologized, claiming he was unaware of the group's racist nature.[2] Scalise has also faced criticism for comparing himself to David Duke, the former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.[6] These past controversies may impact his ability to secure enough votes for the speakership.

The House remains effectively paralyzed until a new speaker is elected, following McCarthy's removal. This situation has taken on new urgency amid Israel's war against Hamas and with a government shutdown deadline looming in mid-November.[7] The longer it takes for Republicans to elect a new speaker, the less time lawmakers will have to address important issues.[7]

It is still unclear when the House will hold a floor vote to elect a new speaker.[8] House Republicans adjourned without scheduling a vote, leaving the chamber at a standstill.[9] Democrats, on the other hand, have unanimously nominated Hakeem Jeffries as their preferred Speaker.

Scalise has outlined his priorities if elected as speaker, including passing a resolution in support of Israel, addressing government funding and the economy, and dealing with the border crisis. He has also begun treatment for multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer, which has raised concerns among some Republicans about his ability to lead.

In conclusion, while Rep. Steve Scalise has won the nomination of his party to be the next House speaker, his path to securing the role remains uncertain. He still needs to secure the votes of nearly every member of his party, and there are potential roadblocks from lawmakers loyal to his competitor, Jim Jordan. Additionally, his controversial past and ongoing health concerns have raised doubts among some Republicans. The House remains in a state of paralysis until a new speaker is elected, with important issues at stake. The upcoming floor vote and the decisions of holdout Republicans will determine Scalise's fate and the future of House leadership.

0. “Republicans Pick Man Who Compared Himself to David Duke as Next House Speaker” The New Republic, 11 Oct. 2023, https://newrepublic.com/post/176154/republicans-nominate-steve-scalise-speaker-david-duke-without-baggage

1. “Jim Jordan Deals Blow to MAGA's Scalise Outrage” Newsweek, 11 Oct. 2023, https://www.newsweek.com/jim-jordan-maga-scalise-outrage-1833958

2. “House speaker election: Scalise defeats Jordan in GOP party vote” Vox.com, 10 Oct. 2023, https://www.vox.com/2023/10/10/23911254/speaker-house-vote-election-republicans-jim-jordan

3. “Republicans nominate Scalise as next speaker, but a fight still remains” NBC News, 11 Oct. 2023, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/scalise-jordan-republicans-nominate-speaker-rcna119452

4. “Who Is Running for House Speaker? Meet the Candidates” TIME, 10 Oct. 2023, https://time.com/6322160/house-speaker-candidates-jordan-scalise/

5. “Steve Scalise wins House GOP speaker nomination” ABC News, 11 Oct. 2023, https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/steve-scalise-nominated-gop-run-speaker/story?id=103892270

6. “What To Know About Steve Scalise—The GOP Nominee For House Speaker” Forbes, 11 Oct. 2023, https://www.forbes.com/sites/anafaguy/2023/10/11/what-to-know-about-steve-scalise-the-gop-nominee-for-house-speaker/

7. “Steve Scalise picked as GOP speaker nominee, but struggles to lock down votes to win the gavel” CNN, 12 Oct. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/10/11/politics/house-republicans-speaker-election/index.html

8. “House speaker race: Republicans to select a candidate to replace McCarthy in closed-door vote” Fox News, 11 Oct. 2023, https://www.foxnews.com/politics/house-speaker-race-republicans-select-candidate-speaker-closed-door-vote

9. “Chip Roy, Michael Cloud say they're still against Scalise after he wins party nomination for U.S. House speaker” The Texas Tribune, 11 Oct. 2023, https://www.texastribune.org/2023/10/11/chip-roy-michael-cloud-steve-scalise-house-speaker

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