Amid regional conflicts in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, investigations into President Joe Biden’s alleged “high crimes and misdemeanors” in his impeachment inquiry, and a border crisis that is exploding out-of-control, the House Republicans have been rendered paralyzed by another House Speaker fight.
Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy was ousted last week in a “coup” that saw a gaggle of GOP hardliners combine with the Democrats to oust the California Congressman.
Two suitors emerged from the fray to potentially claim the gavel: Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise, the House Majority Leader.
On Wednesday, Scalise survived a challenge from Jordan by a vote of 113 to 99 during a closed-door party meeting. His bid for speakership would now move to the House floor.
But that process seems to be ruled out for now. Newsmax reported that Scalise will not only fall short of the 217 floor votes needed to replace McCarthy as Speaker, but he is now likely to drop out of the race.
Scalise has been a member of Congress since 2008. But he was just diagnosed with blood cancer and is undergoing aggressive treatment. Scalise was shot and critically injured by an anti-Trump radical in 2017 during a congressional baseball game practice.
A public roll-call and a higher threshold would have made it more difficult for Scalise to triumph, but Republicans thwarted a move to amend their party rules for choosing a candidate for speaker, giving him a boost. The rule change was killed by a Republican vote of 135 to 88. It was supposed to be an effort to reduce disruptions on the House floor and prevent a repeat of January, when it took McCarthy 15 rounds of voting to become speaker.