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Steve Scalise and Jim Jordan vie to become House speaker with GOP set to vote on candidate


Representative Jim Jordan, a Republican from Ohio, during a news conference at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, US, on Thursday, April 27, 2023. 

Ting Shen | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Republican lawmakers are expected to vote Wednesday morning to nominate a candidate for speaker of the House of Representatives, a week after Kevin McCarthy was ousted by rebel GOP members in a historic no-confidence vote.

House Republicans are holding a closed-door meeting Wednesday to vote on who should succeed McCarthy as speaker. House Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana and Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan of Ohio are considered the top candidates for the post.

The candidate who wins the backing of the House Republicans will still have to face a full vote on the chamber’s floor to secure the speakership. The earliest such a vote could take place is 3 p.m. ET Wednesday.

It is unclear if either Scalise or Jordan can win the 217 votes needed to become the next speaker. McCarthy faced a grueling 15 ballots before he was finally elected speaker in January.

Scalise told reporters Wednesday morning that his first item of business as speaker would be to pass a bipartisan resolution expressing U.S. solidarity with Israel in the wake of devastating terrorist attacks by Hamas that have killed at least 1,200 people.

“We got to get back to work today,” Scalise told reporters.

Jordan, when asked whether he would support Scalise, said he’d back “anyone who can get 217 votes.”

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The House remains leaderless more than a week after Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida and seven other Republicans who engineered the ousting of McCarthy, who ran afoul of hard-right members of the GOP for working with Democrats to pass spending legislation last month to avoid a government shutdown.

The House is effectively in a state of paralysis until someone is elected to take the speaker’s gavel.

The race to find a new speaker has become urgent as Israel seeks U.S. security assistance for its war on Hamas. President Joe Biden said Tuesday that he will ask Congress to take “urgent action” to fund the national security needs of U.S. partners as the Middle East descends into war and Ukraine wages its grinding counteroffensive to push Russia out of its eastern territories.

Congress also needs to pass spending legislation by Nov. 17 to avoid a government shutdown.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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