House Republicans are scheduled to meet behind closed doors on Wednesday to choose a candidate to be the next speaker — but it remains unclear whether any candidate will have enough support to win the gavel after the abrupt ouster of Kevin McCarthy.
So far, neither House Majority Leader Steve Scalise nor Rep. Jim Jordan — the two declared GOP candidates in the race — have received 217 votes, the number needed to be elected president by a majority vote of the House. plenary chamber. The uncertain vote calculation has raised questions about how and when the Republican majority will be able to elect a new president, especially as infighting continues to roil the House Republican ranks.
Until a speaker is elected, the House remains effectively paralyzed following McCarthy’s ouster, an unprecedented situation that has taken on new urgency in the context of Israel’s war against Hamas. The stakes rise further: The longer it takes Republicans to elect a new president, the less time lawmakers will have to try to avoid a government shutdown with a looming mid-November funding deadline.
After a candidates’ forum Tuesday night, Rep. Mike Garcia, a California Republican, said he thought it was “50/50” on whether the GOP would be able to elect a president on Wednesday.
When asked if anyone could get 217 votes, he replied: “I think that’s a great question right now. »
GOP Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky rated the chances even lower. “I would put it at 2%,” he replied when asked by a reporter what the chances are that there will be a new House speaker by Wednesday.
After he was removed as president in a historic vote last week, McCarthy announced he would not seek re-election. But the former president’s allies could still name him during Wednesday’s closed-door meeting, although McCarthy said he told members not to do so.
Currently, a candidate needs only a simple majority of the conference — or 111 votes — to win the GOP nomination for speaker, a threshold far below the 217 votes needed to win the gavel in the House.
A number of Republicans now say that threshold is too low because it does not guarantee that the candidate will be able to win the vote for president.
Learn more about the race for Speaker of the House here.