Scalise Drops Out Of Speaker's Race After Failing To Win Over GOP Holdouts

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by Tyler Durden
Friday, Oct 13, 2023 - 12:03 AM

Update (2005ET): Despite winning his party's nomination by a margin of 113-99, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) has dropped out of the Speaker race, after a group of GOP holdouts refused to vote for him.

Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., speaks to reporters after a closed-door meeting of House Republicans during which he was nominated as their candidate for Speaker of the House, on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023 (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)

The move leaves Republicans without a GOP nominee for the role, just nine days after former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was ousted.

"I was very clear we have to have everybody put their agendas on the side and focus on what this country needs this country is counting on us," Scalise told reporters on Thursday, Axios reports. "But there's some folks that really need to look in the mirror over the next couple of days and decide are we going to get it back on track, or they're going to try to pursue their own agenda."

As Axios further notes:

Zoom in: Scalise won the nomination on Wednesday by a 113-99 margin, but on Thursday it became clear he wasn't making the progress needed to risk a vote on the House floor.

  • The House GOP is in a tight spot, with any combination of five Republicans being enough to sink a speaker bid — at least without help from Democrats.

What's next: House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) narrowly lost the nomination to Scalise, and could now contest the nomination again.

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After House Republicans narrowly nominated Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) to be the next speaker over Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) by a vote of 113 to 99, several GOP lawmakers publicly announced they wouldn't support him in a chamber-wide vote.

"They knew I was with [Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio] in the room, and I thought I might go with Scalise if everybody was gonna get behind Scalise, that was fine, but it's just not that way," said Rep. Barry Moore (R-AL) following a meeting with the House Freedom Caucus. "There’s just people that are not on his team."

At least six GOP lawmakers said they wouldn't vote for Scalise, all but guaranteeing a repeat of January's drawn out Speaker vote when Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) took 15 ballots to secure the position.

"I just don’t think Steve’s got the votes," Moore added.

Scalise, 58, is a longtime member of House leadership favored by centrists and neocons. He needs at least 217 lawmakers to support his candidacy. Given the slim GOP majority in the chamber, and Democrats expected to nominate Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) to the post as they did during January's Speakership elections, Scalise faces an uphill battle.

House Republicans are likely to meet behind closed doors today to try and hash out their differences before the next chamber-wide vote.

Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX)

Scalise can only afford to lose four votes on the floor

Some members said they were frustrated by Scalise allies voting down an earlier measure aimed at raising the threshold to elect a speaker candidate to 217 — a majority of the House.

"I put the amendment forward this morning to say, let's figure this out, because I can count votes. I'm not a whip, but I can count votes," said Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, who led the amendment that was backed by a significant number of GOP lawmakers.

"I was just making it very clear that if you rush this to the floor, I'm a hard no. So we'll go now have some conversations and go figure out where we're gonna go." -Fox News

Following a meeting with GOP leaders, Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-SD) who leads the Main Street Caucus, said the division within the GOP "does not look good for the House or for the country."

"Frankly, I think it would be easier in a political environment where people understood that governing requires some give and take," he added. "I never get everything I want in any negotiation. There are a lot of people around here who don't understand that, and it makes it hard to govern. It is not a problem unique to the Republican Party, but it is on full display in our party today."

When asked if Republicans simply need to huddle in a room to settle their differences, Johnson replied: "I would like to be able to have the power to lock some people in some places, for sure."

As The Hill notes:

IF HE GETS THE JOB, SCALISE INHERITS a race against the shutdown clock from his predecessor. Lawmakers have until Nov. 17 to fund the government or risk another shutdown, and multiple members, including Scalise, have said in recent days that Congress may need to once again rely on a stopgap spending bill to keep the lights on.

The House will come into session at Noon.