Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) officially withdrew his bid for Speaker of the House just over twenty-four hours after the Republican caucus nominated him for the position.
Although Rep. Scalise won the nomination over Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) in a closed-door vote of 113 to 99, it quickly became apparent that the nominee would face significant hurdles in garnering enough support to prevail in a chamber-wide vote.
Several members of the House GOP caucus announced shortly after the nomination that they would not be supporting Scalise on the House floor, with some explicitly stating their intentions to vote in favor of either Rep. Jordan or former Speaker of the House Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).
The same day that Scalise earned the nomination, reporting from CNN revealed that Jordan offered to give a nominating speech on behalf of Scalise when the vote came to the chamber floor, a signal that he did not intend to challenge Scalise’s nomination.
New York Times reporting, however, implied that this was unlikely to have a meaningful impact on those who had made up their mind to support Jordan on the House floor.
In light of these expected hurdles, Scalise announced yesterday that he had withdrawn his name from consideration for the Speakership.
“I just shared with my colleagues that I was withdrawing my name as a candidate that our speaker designee,” Scalise told reporters.
“If you look at over the last few weeks, if you look at where our conference is, there is still work to be done,” he said. “There are still some people that have their own agendas.”
Jordan has not yet announced if he now has plans to once again actively pursue the Speakership in light of Scalise’s decision.
“Look, when I decided to run before, I waited until the next day after Kevin [McCarthy] made his decision,” Jordan told the press. “I thought that was appropriate. I will do the same thing right now. I’ll wait.”
The House convened at 9am this morning only to recess shortly thereafter to allow House Republicans to meet privately.
It is not yet clear what the caucus plans to do behind closed doors today. Some representatives have indicated to the media that they hope to see the caucus make another nomination quickly, while others have said they hope to hear from multiple candidates before voting again.
According to reporting from the Washington Post, House Republicans will be considering a rule change today that would remove members from their committee assignments should they vote differently on the floor of the House than they did behind closed doors.
Another potential change that is under consideration would raise the nomination threshold to 217 — the same number of votes that would be required for approval on the chamber floor.
Similarly, GOP representatives are also set to consider a rule that would require a nominee to receive support from at least 80% of the caucus in order to prevail.
All these measures are being put forward by representatives with the same goals in mind — to help the caucus produce a nominee that the majority of the caucus supports and that can ultimately win a chamber-wide vote on the floor of the House.
Before entering their meeting room this morning, several Republican representatives shared their expectations for today with the press.
Jordan told reporters that he “thinks [they’re] going to get to 217 votes.”
Rep. McCarthy also spoke briefly to the media.
“We’re going to see who is all running,” he said. “I’m a big fan of Jim’s though.”
When asked if he thought Jordan would be able to get enough votes, he replied: “Let the conference see, then we’ll talk about it.”
Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) told reporters that he thinks Jordan “should be given a shot.”
“If he can get to 217, he should be given the opportunity to try to get there,” Rep. Johnson said.
Rep. Marcus Molinaro (R-NY) also spoke to the press.
“It’s a mystery that’s wrapped in an enigma,” he said. “I think it’s entirely possible that a – that we can – that a Jim Jordan can get there. But it is a mystery that has yet to be solved.”
Reporting from Fox News Congressional Correspondent Chad Pergram revealed that members of the Republican caucus intend to table all rule change motions before considering potential candidates.
As there are only 209 Republicans present on Capitol Hill today, the GOP caucus plans to set a date sometime in the coming days to elect a Speaker.
Although many GOP representatives want to see a Speaker instated today, voting without the full caucus present could potentially result in turning the floor over to the Democrats.
Consequently, it is not likely that the House of Representatives will be instating a new Speaker by the end of business today, but nothing is certain until the GOP caucus officially reports out from this morning’s closed-door meeting.