WASHINGTON: Republicans who control the US House of Representatives on Wednesday (Oct 11) nominated Steve Scalise to serve as speaker following last week’s ouster of Kevin McCarthy, though it was unclear whether he had enough support to win a vote of the full chamber.
Scalise, who is currently No 2 on the Republican leadership ladder, must still win approval from the full House before he can claim the speaker’s gavel. Republicans can afford only a handful of defections as they control the chamber by a narrow 221-212 majority and Democrats are not expected to vote for any Republican candidate.
“We’re working hard to get unified. We need to get unified because the world is not waiting,” Scalise, 58, told reporters after the vote. “Obviously we still have work to do.”
Lawmakers said they expected a vote at 3pm ET.
Republicans picked Scalise over House Judiciary Committee chair Jim Jordan in a secret ballot vote behind closed doors. The tally was 113 for Scalise and 99 for Jordan, lawmakers said.
It remains to be seen whether Jordan’s backers will support Scalise when his nomination comes up for a vote in the full House. McCarthy in January had to endure 15 rounds of voting before clinching the speakership.
Before selecting Scalise, Republicans rejected a proposal that would have required their nominee to secure 217 of their 221 votes. That allowed Scalise to win the nomination quickly, but left open the question of whether he would face a repeat of the battle in January for the role of speaker, which played out over four days.
Republican Representative Kat Cammack predicted the floor vote would be a “bloodbath.”
“What’s going to happen at 3:00 is going to be a continuation of the chaos that has plagued the House,” she said.