Republican Steve Scalise Withdraws Bid for House Speaker
In a major blow to the Republican Party, Steve Scalise announced late Thursday that he would no longer be a candidate for House speaker. This decision leaves the GOP majority in deeper chaos, with no clear path forward. Scalise made this announcement during a closed-door meeting with GOP colleagues, declining to endorse any other candidate, including his chief rival, Jim Jordan.
A House Unable to Function
With the party unable to agree on a nominee, the House is essentially closed, leaving lawmakers uncertain about the next steps. Scalise emphasized that the Republican majority must come together but acknowledged that they are not currently unified. He had been working tirelessly to secure the necessary votes, but even after numerous private meetings and discussions, lawmakers were unwilling to support him.
Frustrations Mount as Republicans Seek Leadership
Republicans are facing increasing pressure to resolve the leadership crisis and regain control of the House. Without a speaker, the government risks a shutdown in a month’s time. Additionally, lawmakers are eager to demonstrate strong support for Israel in its conflict with Hamas, but bipartisan resolutions have been derailed by the stalemate in the House.
The Diminishing Hope for Scalise
Scalise’s hopes for winning the speakership were further diminished as hardline Republicans, taking cues from Donald Trump, dug in their heels against him. They argued that Scalise should prioritize his health as he battles cancer and that he was not the leader they would support. McCarthy stated that Scalise would continue as majority leader but offered no further advice to his colleagues.
The Urgency to Resolve the Issue
The House is now entering its second week without a speaker, rendering it largely useless. Democrats are growing impatient, and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries called on House Republicans to put an end to their internal conflict in order to govern effectively. However, the Republican meetings have so far failed to unite the party behind a single candidate, with emotional objections and personal grievances hindering progress.
A Daunting Math Ahead
The obstacles facing Scalise in his bid for speakership are daunting. While he won the closed-door Republican vote, he fell short of the 217 votes needed for a majority in a floor battle with Democrats. With the chamber narrowly split and absences a possibility, Scalise can afford to lose only a few Republicans before facing opposition from Democrats who will support their own leader, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries.
The Call for Unity and Action
Democrats are urging Republicans to find a bipartisan path forward, emphasizing that the world is watching their inability to govern. Trump, despite voicing concerns about Scalise’s health, is expected to take a hands-off approach to the internal GOP fight now that Scalise is the nominee. Some Republicans are eager to put the divisions behind them and move forward, emphasizing the need for prompt action.