Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) emerged victorious in House Republicans’ closed-door, secret-ballot nomination vote Wednesday, although there could be more drama to come.
Before the vote, caucus members tabled a rule that would have raised the victory threshold to what candidates will need in the House. This full vote – with its higher demands – could take place as early as Wednesday afternoon.
Coming out of the meeting, a few members — including Reps. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) and Max Miller (R-OH) — told reporters they still intended to vote for Rep. Jim Jordan (R -OH). Reps. Chip Roy (R-TX) and Michael Cloud (R-TX) tweeted shortly after that they would not vote for Scalise this afternoon, due to their opposition to a vote in the full House that could take place so soon after the nomination meeting. A critical mass of these resistance fighters could derail Scalise’s chances.
There’s also the tricky wicket of the motion to nullify, the rule that allows Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) to single-handedly trigger the impeachment of Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). A few days ago, there was a lively debate within the House Republican caucus about changing the rule, so that the next speaker would not sit under the same sword of Damocles. Scalise has not yet made this a condition of his term as president; that would likely jeopardize a handful of votes, but extend his potential term.
Former Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) considered amending the motion to overturn the rule when he was pushed for the position, but ultimately preserved it, leaning to the right flank.
House action has essentially ground to a halt with the Speaker position vacant, as Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) presides as Speaker pro tempore.
One member, however, moved at lightning speed Wednesday after Scalise won the nomination. Rep. Kevin Hern (R-OK), who himself had briefly flirted with the presidency, immediately threw his hat in the ring to become majority leader — Scalise’s old job.
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