Confusion lingers as House GOP worries ‘breakdown’ over when – or when – to pick a speaker

WASHINGTON — More than 24 hours after Republicans nominated Rep. Steve Scalise to be the next House speaker, they are mired in divisions.

Before the meeting ended, Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., expressed concern that his party’s narrow majority would never find the 217 votes needed to elect a speaker.

He called eight Republican “traitors” — a word he used four times in a hallway interview — who voted with Democrats to remove former Speaker Kevin McCarthy and “put us in this situation.” If those eight decide to back Scalise, Rogers warned, “there’s another eight like them” who could create more trouble.

“We have a very fractured convention, and I think limiting ourselves to getting 217 out of our convention is not a smart path,” Rogers told NBC News, adding that Republicans “absolutely” need some Democrats. He votes to elect the Speaker.

Rogers, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said Democrats should come to them and make an offer, and that right now “they’re not giving Jack.” Democrats say the GOP — which controls the chamber — should make the first move.

“It’s up to our caucus to make that decision. But our door remains open,” House Minority Whip Catherine Clarke, D-Mass., said when asked about Rogers’ comments about a deal with Republicans on a coalition speaker. “We want to get back in power. “

The GOP caucus ended Thursday without a plan for a House vote on the speaker. The chamber is split between 221 Republicans and 212 Democrats, with 217 votes needed to elect a speaker. Democrats rallied to nominate Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D.N.Y., to the post.

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There is no consensus candidate for the post of Speaker

Scalise has a significant stake, including some who opposed McCarthy (such as Reps. Bob Goode, R-Va., and Nancy Mays, R-S.C.) and others who voted to keep McCarthy on the job but were not sold. In Scalise (as Reps. Marjorie Taylor Green, R-Ga. and Lauren Bobert, R-Colo.). But he was among other McCarthy opponents, Reps. He beat Matt Gates, R-Fla., and Tim Burchett, R-Tenn.

First-term Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, R-Fla., said On Wednesday she will “cast my vote” for Scalise. But on Thursday, she flipped said She “will not vote for Scalise again.”

“There is no consensus candidate for speaker,” Luna said In X. “We’re going to have to stay in Washington until we figure this out. I’m not going to vote for Scalise again. I don’t think we’re going to get to the floor.

The Majority Leader struck a confident tone.

“There have obviously been issues over the last week about the whole process of how we get our conference back on track,” Scalise said. “I think individually, people have questions, and I felt it would be better if we did it in a holistic way — where it’s not isolated, where people don’t think there’s side deals going on, everybody can see, Republicans are talking among themselves, what those issues are. The good news is, Our support continues to grow. We continue to work to bridge the gap. It is ongoing. We are going to continue the meetings. There are some other members who would like to meet as a group and individually.

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Some Republican lawmakers were nervous about the prospect of a prolonged shutdown in the House, which could not hold business without the speaker.

Some say empower Acting Speaker McHenry

Rep. David Joyce, R-Ohio, who chairs the center-right Republican Caucus, said support is growing for McHenry to be temporarily empowered as speaker.

“The world is burning. And we need to find solutions to these problems. We still have 34 days left [government funding] Again pending,” Joyce told reporters. “So it’s important that we get back to the business of running this country and get rid of the infighting.”

Joyce said it was unclear when the House would be able to vote on a speaker. Many Republicans prefer to wait until a candidate has enough votes to avoid multiple rounds of ballots like the one McCarthy faced in January.

Rogers said no to McHenry: “Steve Scalise is the majority winner in our conference, so if we ever get a speaker, he’ll be our next speaker.”

After the meeting, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, lost his nomination to Scalise, downplaying the idea of ​​temporarily elevating McHenry and encouraging Republicans to back the majority leader. “Steve is a speaker designer,” he said. “There we must go.”

McHenry, for his part, said his job was to work toward Scalise’s election after Republicans nominated him for speaker.

“We have a speaker designator, and it’s my job to facilitate that vote,” McHenry said Thursday.

Representative. Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., left the convention “highly confident” that Scalise would get 217 votes, without saying what was behind that confidence.

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He said the meeting was “very civilized, very important”.

“I don’t enjoy sitting in cheap seats for long periods of time, so I said my piece and I’m going back to the office,” Lucas said.

Rep. Mike Lawler, RN.Y., a vocal McCarthy supporter and critic of the lawmakers who voted to remove him, said he would support Scalise if the rest of the Republican convention is clear.

“If there’s a conference, yes,” he said. “We have to elect a speaker. But someone has to come to 217.

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