(Ken Silva, Headline USA) Last week’s victory may have been short-lived for the MAGA-aligned representatives who successfully ousted Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., from the House speakership, as Republicans on Wednesday nominated another moderate, Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., to do the job next.
In private balloting at the Capitol, House Republicans pushed aside Rep. Jim Jordan, the Judiciary Committee chairman, in favor of Scalise, the current majority leader, lawmakers said. Scalise reportedly beat Jordan in a secret vote of 113 to 99.
Scalise announced in August that he was diagnosed with a form of blood cancer known as multiple myeloma and is undergoing treatment. After his election, Rep. Pat Fallon, R-Texas, downplayed concerns about the diagnosis, saying that Scalice should only need about three months of treatment and is healthy enough to live into his 90s.
“This is a man who eats bullets and gets stronger,” Fallon said, referencing Scalice surviving a mass shooting on lawmakers at a congressional baseball game practice few years ago.
However, online pundits are quickly expressing dissatisfaction with the outcome. “McCarthy 2.0” was trending on Twitter within minutes of the announcement, with observers despairing that nothing will change under the new leadership.
“I’ve heard Steve Scalise is more Uniparty than MAGA,” commented conservative pundit Rogan O’Handley.
BREAKING: Steve Scalise wins the House GOP speakership nomination beating Jim Jordan 113 to 99
I’ve heard Steve Scalise is more Uniparty than MAGA
— DC_Draino (@DC_Draino) October 11, 2023
However, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., has given a sign of support for Scalice. The night before the vote, he said that Scalice and Jordan are both “respected and trusted men,” indicating that he was considering voting for him.
I am excited for a new era of leadership in the House of Representatives.
By tomorrow, I believe House Republicans will be coalescing around @Jim_Jordan or @SteveScalise – two respected and trusted men.
I’m going to do a lot of praying tonight to figure out which one I’m going… pic.twitter.com/5kayLFPUY8
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) October 11, 2023
Republicans who have been stalemated after McCarthy’s removal will seek to assemble their narrow House majority around Scalise in what is certain to be a close vote of the full House. Democrats are set to oppose the Republican nominee.
But it’s still unclear whether either Scalise can amass the votes that would be needed from almost all Republicans to overcome opposition from Democrats during a floor vote in the narrowly split House. Usually, the majority needed would be 218 votes, but there are currently two vacant seats, dropping the threshold to 217.
Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., has already come out against Scalise.
“I let Scalise know in person that he doesn’t have my vote on the floor, because he has not articulated a viable plan for avoiding an omnibus,” Massie said on Twitter.
Surprises are for little kids at birthday parties, not Congress. So, I let Scalise know in person that he doesn’t have my vote on the floor, because he has not articulated a viable plan for avoiding an omnibus.
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) October 11, 2023
Many Republicans want to prevent the spectacle of a messy House floor fight like the grueling January brawl when McCarthy became speaker.
Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-NC, continues to serve as temporary House Speaker in the meantime.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.