Scalise drops out of House Speaker race, Trump still suggested as an option

October 14, 2023

U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) has dropped out of the race to become the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, NPR reports

The House needs a new speaker after former speaker Keven McCarthy's (R-CA) recent ouster. McCarthy was removed by the Democrats and a small group of Republicans after he made a spending deal to avoid a government shutdown.

Since then, the Republicans, with their House majority, have been working to selected a speaker. Two clear frontrunners emerged: Scalise and U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH). Former President Donald Trump's name has also been thrown into the mix, albeit informally.

It was Scalise who, in a tightly-contested contest with Jordan, won the speaker nomination from House Republicans. Yet, now, he has dropped out of the race.

The "why?"

The simple reason why Scalise has dropped out of the speakership race, despite winning his party's nomination, is that it became clear that he would not have enough support to go on to actually become the next speaker.

In other words, House Republicans refused to united behind Scalise.

Scalise, in announcing his withdrawal from the race, called on Republicans to put their individual agendas aside, to come together, and to support a speaker.

He said:

If you look at over the last few weeks, if you look at where our conferences there's still work to be done. Our conference still has to come together and is not there. There are still some people that have their own agendas. And, 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 to come back together. This House of Representatives needs a speaker, and we need to open up the House again. But clearly, not everybody is there. And they're still schisms that have to get resolved.

So, the question now is who is going to become the next House Speaker; is there a candidate behind whom House Republicans would be willing to unite?

The answer remains unclear.

With Scalise out, the attention has now turned to Jordan, the other frontrunner to become the next speaker.

House Republicans, after Scalise's withdrawal, held a closed-door vote in which they selected Jordan to be their next speaker nominee.

It appears, however, that Jordan may still not have the necessary support to actually become speaker. In a subsequent vote, 55 House Republicans said that they would vote against Jordan becoming the next speaker.

This is problematic because, with the House's current setup - assuming that all Democrats will vote against Jordan - the Republicans' candidate can only afford to lose four votes. 55, of course, is a lot more than four.

House Republicans are expected to hold more closed-door meetings to see if they can unite behind Jordan. But, at the time of this writing, it does not appear as though the Republicans are any closer to selecting the next speaker.

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