WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) — House Republicans voted 113-99 on Wednesday to make House Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana their nominee to be the next Speaker of the House instead of House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan of Ohio, with a final floor vote of the full chamber still to come.
Last week, eight Republicans led by Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida voted with Democrats to oust the previous GOP speaker, Kevin McCarthy of California, in a surprisingly sudden revolt that primarily cited discontent with his performance in budget negotiations, but did not have a specific replacement in mind.
Roll Call reports that a majority of House Republicans are backing Scalise, a largely conventional Republican who is pro-life but has also not used his previous leadership positions to hold the line for conservatism in internal party disputes; last year, he reportedly gave House Republicans his blessing to vote however they wanted on a Democrat bill to codify same-sex “marriage” nationwide.
In 2017, Scalise was shot by a leftist radical who opened fire on a practice session for a congressional baseball game. His grievous injuries required intensive treatment and kept him out of Congress for months.
Wednesday’s vote followed an unsuccessful attempt by Reps. Chip Roy of Texas and Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania to raise the threshold for Republican speaker nominations to 217 before moving on to a vote of the full House. It failed 135-88.
The matter now moves on to a floor vote, where Scalise can only afford a total of four Republicans voting against him, potentially setting up a repeat of the fight to elect McCarthy speaker in January, during which holdouts were able to wrest a number of concessions from him.
“If you look behind us at this Capitol, the Congress cannot work right now without a Speaker, but the world is still moving, and it’s working, and it’s moving in a very bad direction,” Scalise said Wednesday. “We’ve got to get the House back to work. There are real things that need to be done. Obviously, I’ve been talking to our allies in Israel. There are real things they need. You know, we’ve passed some legislation already — just in the last few weeks — to put in place the ability for Israel to have more defense systems that they could use today. Those things aren’t in place. There’s real work that needs to be done. Our members, I think, have a stronger resolve than ever to get back to work. I want that work to start today.”
After brief speculation that he could be drafted for the position himself, former President Donald Trump had endorsed Jordan, a conservative historically at odds with establishment GOP leadership. Trump’s chief rival for the GOP presidential nomination, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, did not formally endorse anyone but named Jordan, Roy, and Thomas Massie of Kentucky as good choices; he also faulted the instigators for lacking a plan for whatever followed McCarthy.