Will Republican rebels allow Scalise to hit 217?
Another 10 members voted for other candidates. But the House then went into recess because Scalise doesn’t yet have the 217 votes he’ll need to replace the ousted Kevin McCarthy. Democrats will all vote for their leader, Hakeem Jeffries, for speaker.
For now, the choice of Scalise as the Republican nominee represents a loss for the more aggressively partisan pro-Donald Trump wing of the House GOP, which had supported Jordan. In fact, Scalise has pretty closely aligned on policy with former speaker McCarthy. He supported the recent bipartisan debt ceiling deal that helped avoid a government shutdown, new financial help for Ukraine, and a clean continuing resolution to keep the government funded, all of which the Republican hardliners who voted to fire McCarthy have opposed.
But to become speaker, Scalise will need virtually all the Jordan voters to come his way on the House floor, and though Jordan has pledged his support, not enough of those who voted for him or others appear willing to back Scalise.
Republicans still hope to elect a speaker in the coming days who can advance legislation that signals US support for Israel and negotiate with Democrats over budget issues ahead of a potential government shutdown on Nov. 17.