News Update


Why Steve Scalise, a Republican, is not the current House Speaker

After a secret ballot, Republicans chose Steve Scalise to replace John Boehner as Speaker of the House of Representatives.

In a hearing held behind closed doors at the US Capitol, he defeated Jim Jordan’s opponent by a margin of 113 votes to 99.

As the leader of the lower chamber of Congress, the Speaker holds one of the most significant positions in the US government.

A simple majority of votes, or 217, will now be needed to win the position in a vote of the entire House.


On Wednesday night, the House was suspended while Mr. Scalise looked for enough support among his party.

Acting Speaker Patrick McHenry said “we’ll see” when asked when the House would be brought back for a floor vote.

Mr. McHenry stated that Mr. Scalise “has the right to put his votes together for the floor and make sure the timing is right… we’re going to let that happen”.

Right-wing party members revolted and removed Kevin McCarthy from his position, which was unprecedented in US politics.

After the vote, Mr. Scalise spoke with the media and emphasized the importance of the Speaker’s position in the increasingly “dangerous world”.

“We need to make sure we’re sending a message… that the House is open.”

Representatives will nominate Hakeem Jeffries of New York as the Democratic Party’s nominee for Speaker.

However, because they are the minority party, their candidate for Speaker has little prospect of winning 217 votes.

Republicans have been bickering among themselves recently and appeared unable to agree on McCarthy’s replacement.

The fact that Mr. Scalise’s victory was so close underlines the differences within the party, and some lawmakers have questioned whether he still has the support needed to become Speaker.

Thomas Massie of Kentucky, who is still opposed to him, told reporters that he will vote “hard no,” at least in the first round of voting, since he disagrees with Mr. Scalise on how the budget should be handled.

Aside from the five votes he could afford to lose, Mr. Massie continued that he thought at least 20 other Republicans would join him in voting against Mr. Scalise.

Steve Scalise on October 11, 2017
picture caption
In an effort to gather enough support among his party, Mr. Scalise called an adjournment of the House for Wednesday night.
Reps. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, and Anna Paulina Luna of Florida are among the Republicans who have stated they won’t be voting for Mr. Scalise.

Because the vote was “rushed” to the floor, Texas Congressman Chip Roy has stated that he is also a “hard no” for the time being.

“There are a number of votes that are very much in question for Steve,” he stated. “I don’t think it’s a good idea for us to be barreling towards the floor.”

The traditional candidate in this campaign was Mr. Scalise. He worked his way up through the party’s hierarchy, established himself as a formidable fund-raiser, and made an effort to establish ties with the party’s wide range of constituencies and interest groups.

Trump’s ally and an insider are competing for the speakership.
What is the role of the US House Speaker?
Jim Jordan was the outsider who became well-known for his conservative media appearances, harsh language, and combative committee hearing comments.

Mr. Trump also supported Mr. Jordan, but in the end, that wasn’t enough to give him the edge.

Texas’ Troy Nehls, one of the anti-Scalise Republicans, said he still intended to support Mr. Jordan because of the former president’s endorsement.

“That’s what Donald Trump wanted,” he stated.

The success of Mr. Scalise demonstrates that the former president’s influence within the party – at least in the House of Representatives – is not as great as his polling popularity might imply when the polls are closed and the votes are secret.

But his task is far from finished.

He now needs to ensure that when the whole House meets to vote on the speaker, at least 217 of the 221 Republicans will support him. Former speaker Kevin McCarthy was defeated by the slim Republican majority.

If Mr. Scalise wants to prevent a similar outcome, he will need to show political skill.


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