Politics

Steve Scalise’s challenge: Flip holdouts on his speakership candidacy as some fear a repeat of the January floor fight.

Steve Scalise won the internal House Republican speakership vote Wednesday — but even some lawmakers aren’t sure what, if anything, can be done to sway GOP colleagues dug in against his candidacy.

“I think Steve knows that he is going to need to work expeditiously, and I know his team is working on that,” said Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.), chair of the Republican Main Street Caucus, late Wednesday. “It’s really, really hard for this Republican House to govern. We have incredibly tight margins and, frankly, some members who have a hard time getting to yes on almost anything, almost every week.”

“I don’t know if it’s going to be Jordan or Scalise, or even someone else,” said Rep. Erin Houchin (R-Ind.) of the situation. “I think we’re in uncharted territory. And it’s going to be very hard to predict.”

Others are calling for the fight to play out on the House floor and urged Scalise against pursuing any sort of side power agreements, which they view as having constrained former Speaker Kevin McCarthy during his time in leadership. (ICYMI: Huddle had a great look at some of the holdouts.)

“If people aren’t voting in sunshine and voting in a way that’s valuable to their constituents, they can run all over the Capitol complex and talk to each other until we’re blue in the face and until we’ve wandered in the wilderness for weeks — or we can go to the floor which is the real truth on where we stand,” said House Budget Chair Jodey Arrington (R-Texas).

Arrington added: “I am done with these deals — these prenuptial agreements — to become speaker because that is a recipe to end up exactly where we are today.”

Others said they feared institutional damage from the removal of McCarthy.

“I guess my concern now is that what we saw last week, with the removal of a speaker for the first time in history, really kind of broke a fundamental norm, and now people feel unconstrained and they can kind of do whatever they want,” said Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.).

Inside the nos: The list includes members like Rep. George Santos, who posted his opposition to Scalise on X, formerly Twitter, Wednesday evening.

“It’s just past 9:40pm and I have yet to hear from the Speaker-Designate. So I’ve made my decision and after 10 months and having had 0 contact or outreach from him, I’ve come to the conclusion that my VOTE doesn’t matter to him,” Santos wrote. “I’m now declaring I’m an ANYONE but Scalise and come hell or high water I won’t change my mind.”

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.), who voted to oust McCarthy last week, also indicated she didn’t think Scalise had a path to 217 votes. Summing up the current situation, which many members described as fluid and uncertain, Mace said: “We’ll go to the floor divided if we go to the floor at all.”

What’s to come today? The House comes into session at noon.

Steve Scalise won the internal House Republican speakership vote Wednesday — but even some lawmakers aren’t sure what, if anything, can be done to sway GOP colleagues dug in against his candidacy.
“I think Steve knows that he is going to need to work expeditiously, and I know his team is working on that,” said Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.), chair of the Republican Main Street Caucus, late Wednesday. “It’s really, really hard for this Republican House to govern. We have incredibly tight margins and, frankly, some members who have a hard time getting to yes on almost anything, almost every week.”
“I don’t know if it’s going to be Jordan or Scalise, or even someone else,” said Rep. Erin Houchin (R-Ind.) of the situation. “I think we’re in uncharted territory. And it’s going to be very hard to predict.”
Others are calling for the fight to play out on the House floor and urged Scalise against pursuing any sort of side power agreements, which they view as having constrained former Speaker Kevin McCarthy during his time in leadership. (ICYMI: Huddle had a great look at some of the holdouts.)
“If people aren’t voting in sunshine and voting in a way that’s valuable to their constituents, they can run all over the Capitol complex and talk to each other until we’re blue in the face and until we’ve wandered in the wilderness for weeks — or we can go to the floor which is the real truth on where we stand,” said House Budget Chair Jodey Arrington (R-Texas).
Arrington added: “I am done with these deals — these prenuptial agreements — to become speaker because that is a recipe to end up exactly where we are today.”
Others said they feared institutional damage from the removal of McCarthy.
“I guess my concern now is that what we saw last week, with the removal of a speaker for the first time in history, really kind of broke a fundamental norm, and now people feel unconstrained and they can kind of do whatever they want,” said Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.).
Inside the nos: The list includes members like Rep. George Santos, who posted his opposition to Scalise on X, formerly Twitter, Wednesday evening.
“It’s just past 9:40pm and I have yet to hear from the Speaker-Designate. So I’ve made my decision and after 10 months and having had 0 contact or outreach from him, I’ve come to the conclusion that my VOTE doesn’t matter to him,” Santos wrote. “I’m now declaring I’m an ANYONE but Scalise and come hell or high water I won’t change my mind.”
Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.), who voted to oust McCarthy last week, also indicated she didn’t think Scalise had a path to 217 votes. Summing up the current situation, which many members described as fluid and uncertain, Mace said: “We’ll go to the floor divided if we go to the floor at all.”
What’s to come today? The House comes into session at noon.  

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