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 October 9, 2023

House Republicans are uncertain as to how soon they can elect a new speaker; McCarthy's candidacy is not ruled out

Monday night, House Republicans left their meeting unsure of how swiftly the chamber could elect a new speaker, as CBS News reported

Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Steve Scalise (R-La.) are vying for the position, but some members have expressed optimism that former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy will be reinstated to his previous position following his historic ouster last week.

Republicans who attended the meeting characterized it as a listening session where members discussed McCarthy's removal as speaker last week. The House members also reported that there were discussions regarding the group's next steps.

The conference is eager to elect a speaker this week, particularly in light of Hamas's weekend attack on Israel, which has already claimed over 1,500 Israeli and Palestinian lives.

In order to avoid the 15-round, drawn-out vote McCarthy endured to win the gavel in January, the conference may attempt to reach a unanimous decision on a single candidate. McCarthy did not attend the meeting.

Scalise told reporters at the Capitol following the conference meeting that he believed Republicans would conduct a forum on Tuesday and select a speaker on Wednesday.

Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), the Speaker Pro Tempore, informed reporters that he hoped the entire House would vote on the speaker on Wednesday.

However, it remains unclear which candidate will garner sufficient support within the conference. While Jordan leads Scalise in public endorsements, many members were dubious Monday night as to whether the battle for speaker could be resolved Wednesday.

Despite urgent concerns about the conflict in Israel, Ohio Rep. Max Miller (R-Ohio) proposed delaying the conference for an additional week to sort out the situation. Miller, who is Jewish, told CBS News, "I care about what's going on in Israel and I will always stand tough and strong for the Jewish people."

"Make no mistake, time is always of the essence. But right now we have a crisis on our hands that we also need to get through."

Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.) stated that a few members raised the issue of McCarthy's reinstatement during Monday's conference meeting.

Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) one of the eight Republicans who voted to remove McCarthy last week, said he would not support the move and expected McCarthy to honor his promise not to pursue the gavel again.

McCarthy has not ruled out a second run for the position, telling reporters on Monday morning, "I'll let the conference see who unites them."

During a news conference on Monday, he spoke about the Hamas attacks on Israel, which began over the weekend and have so far resulted in over 1,500 fatalities and thousands of injuries.

McCarthy was repeatedly asked if he would pursue the speakership again. He did say firmly one way or the other, allowing for possibility of another run, but reiterated that it was up to the Republican conference.

However, he also implied that Republicans would need to intervene to prevent the next speaker from being removed by such a small percentage of the conference. Eight of the current 221 Republicans in the House joined all 212 Democrats in voting to remove McCarthy.

Written By:
Charlotte Tyler

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