House Remains Speakerless After Scalise Drops Out

October 13, 2023

The House speaker race is back to square one after Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) withdrew himself from consideration on the floor.

Leader Scalise’s decision came as more than a dozen House Republicans came out against his nomination, either in favor of Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH), former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), or someone else. Chair Jordan is reportedly working the Conference to shore up support for another bid to claim the speaker’s gavel. However, the Ohio Republican is facing some math problems of his own, as five House Republicans — Reps. Ann Wagner (R-MO), Austin Scott (R-GA), Mike Simpson (R-ID), Carlos Gimenez (R-FL), and John Rutherford (R-FL) — are currently opposed to his speakership campaign.
  • What’s next? The Conference has gaveled in for another round of internal speaker nominations this morning, at which point Chair Jordan is expected be nominated as a candidate. Other potential nominees that have been floated within GOP circles include House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN), Republican Study Committee Chair Kevin Hern (R-OK), Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-NY), as well as Reps. Mike Johnson (R-LA), Tom Cole (R-OK), and Byron Donalds (R-FL). However, no one else has officially launched a bid as of this writing. Additionally, lawmakers are mulling the possibility of giving the current Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry (R-NC) additional authority to bring legislation to the floor — something that could require cooperation with Democrats if some form of rules or legislative change is needed — as well as nominating him for the full-time position within the Conference.
— NEXT WEEK IN CONGRESS. Both chambers are slated to resume legislative business next week, starting first with the Senate on Monday. The upper chamber is slated to focus on pending nominations next week, which could include Jack Lew’s nomination to be Ambassador to Israel as the White House scrambles to fill the post amid the Israeli-Hamas conflict. We will also be watching to see what happens on the government funding front, as senators were in the process of considering a three-bill “minibus” before pivoting to the short-term CR during last month’s session. Meanwhile, House legislative business will remain at a standstill until the next round of speaker votes, but committee activity will resume as normal off the floor.