The Battle for Speaker of the House: Jordan vs. Scalise

The Battle for Speaker of the House: Jordan vs. Scalise

The race for speaker of the House of Representatives has taken an unexpected turn as House Republicans nominated Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio as their new nominee, after Rep. Steve Scalise withdrew amidst opposition from hard-right members of the GOP. The internal party vote resulted in a victory for Jordan, however, there are challenges ahead as he seeks to secure the necessary votes for a formal vote on the House floor. The House is currently facing a leadership vacuum, leaving urgent legislative matters in limbo.

In a closed-door internal party vote, Rep. Jim Jordan emerged as the new nominee for speaker of the House, defeating Rep. Austin Scott of Georgia. Despite this initial victory, the nomination was followed by a second secret ballot vote to gauge support for Jordan, which revealed that he fell far short of the required 217 votes. This setback raises questions about his ability to gather the necessary support for a formal vote on the House floor.

Scalise’s Withdrawal

Rep. Steve Scalise, who initially entered the race for speaker of the House, withdrew his nomination after it became apparent that he lacked the GOP votes needed to secure the speakership. Scalise acknowledged the disunity within the party, stating that “our conference still has to come together and is not there.” The withdrawal of Scalise leaves the House Republicans searching for a viable candidate who can gather sufficient support.

House in Limbo

The House of Representatives has been without a leader for over a week, creating a state of paralysis in terms of legislative progress. Urgent matters such as President Joe Biden’s call for “urgent action” on security assistance for Israel and support for Ukraine are in limbo, while the House is unable to move forward without a speaker. Additionally, passing spending legislation by Nov. 17 to avoid a government shutdown becomes even more challenging without a clear leader.

In an attempt to resolve the impasse, GOP lawmakers put forth several proposals. Rep. Dan Meuser of Pennsylvania suggested a Scalise-Jordan leadership team, while Rep. Tom McClintock of California advocated for the reinstatement of Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who faced a grueling 15 votes before his election as speaker in January. However, it remains uncertain whether any of these proposals can gather enough support to become a reality.

The ousting of Rep. Kevin McCarthy by a faction of eight Republicans, led by Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, has caused internal strife within the GOP. While Democrats refused to rescue McCarthy’s speakership, several Republican lawmakers expressed their disappointment and placed blame on Gaetz and his colleagues for making the decision to oust McCarthy. Rep. Mike Lawler of New York described it as the “single most destructive thing” he has witnessed in politics.

The Path Forward

Amidst the chaos and uncertainty, the House Republicans are left to navigate the path forward. The upcoming floor vote on Jordan’s speakership will provide further insight into his level of support within the party. It remains to be seen how the leadership vacuum will be resolved and whether a suitable candidate who can unite the party and garner enough votes will emerge. The clock is ticking as urgent legislation and the looming threat of a government shutdown require swift action.

The battle for speaker of the House of Representatives continues to unfold, with Rep. Jim Jordan now at the forefront. Although he secured the nomination from House Republicans, Jordan faces significant challenges in gathering the support necessary for a formal vote on the House floor. The vacancy in House leadership has left urgent legislative matters unresolved, creating an atmosphere of uncertainty and frustration. The coming days will reveal whether Jordan can overcome these hurdles and provide the much-needed stability and direction for the House of Representatives.


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