POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

House Republicans pick Steve Scalise as speaker nominee

Oct 11, 2023, 11:13 AM | Updated: Oct 17, 2023, 9:18 am

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise talks to reporters as he leaves Republicans' closed-door forum ...

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise talks to reporters as he leaves Republicans' closed-door forum to hear from the candidates for speaker of the House on October 10. (Jose Luis Magana/AP via CNN)

(Jose Luis Magana/AP via CNN)

Originally Published: 11 OCT 23 05:01 ET
Updated: 11 OCT 23 13:10 ET

(CNN) — House Republicans voted behind closed doors to select Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana as their nominee for speaker, according to multiple sources familiar, paving the way for a floor vote to elect a new speaker after Kevin McCarthy’s abrupt ouster.

It is not yet clear when the full House will hold the speaker vote, but it could take place as soon as Wednesday. Scalise currently serves as House majority leader.

Until a speaker is elected, the House remains effectively paralyzed following McCarthy’s ouster, an unprecedented situation that has taken on new urgency amid Israel’s war against Hamas. Raising the stakes further, the longer it takes Republicans to elect a new speaker, the less time lawmakers will have to try to avert a government shutdown with a funding deadline looming in mid-November.

Scalise was running against GOP Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, the chairman of the powerful House Judiciary Committee and the only other declared Republican candidate for the speaker’s nomination. Jordan was endorsed by former President Donald Trump in the speaker race and has made a name for himself as a staunch Trump ally.

After his removal as speaker in a historic vote last week, McCarthy announced he would not run again for the post. But allies of the former speaker could still nominate him during Wednesday’s closed-door meeting, though McCarthy has said he has told members not to do so.

Earlier on Wednesday, House Republicans rejected a proposal to raise the threshold required to select a GOP speaker nominee – a proposal that was aimed at preventing a messy public fight for the gavel.

The rules change would have raised the threshold to select a speaker nominee from a majority of the GOP conference – or 111 votes – to 217 votes, a majority of the full House, the number required to win the speaker’s gavel when the entire chamber holds its vote.

The effort to change the rules was aimed at avoiding a protracted floor fight like the one in January when it took 15 rounds of voting for McCarthy to win the gavel.

The timing of the House floor vote is technically up to Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry, who is serving in the top leadership spot on an interim basis. However, he is expected to defer to whoever the GOP nominee is, and the timing of the vote will be their call.

This story and headline have updated with additional developments.

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House Republicans pick Steve Scalise as speaker nominee