U.S. House Republicans meet in attempt to elect new Speaker on Capitol Hill in Washington

Republicans chose Scalise to be House speaker, but his path is uncertain. What happens next?


WASHINGTON (AP) — Now that House Republicans have chosen Majority Leader Steve Scalise as their nominee for speaker, the race is now on the House floor, where he needs 217 votes to win the gavel and Officially replacing the ousted Kevin. McCarthy.

watch: Republicans move closer to electing Rep. Scalise as next House Speaker

The Republican conference selected Scalise as the nominee in a secret ballot on Wednesday. Lawmakers leaving the room said Scalise won 113 votes, while Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, received 99 votes. A handful of Republicans refused to vote for either man.

With Scalise falling well short of 217 votes in the conference vote, the Louisiana congressman’s path to speakership is uncertain. He is holding meetings to try to rally Republicans behind him, but some lawmakers say they still support Jordan.

McCarthy, a California Republican, was abruptly and unexpectedly ousted as speaker last week after just nine months in office, leaving the House largely leaderless and with North Carolina Rep. Patrick McHenry in a caretaker role.

Scalise, the No. 2 man in McCarthy’s leadership and a popular lawmaker, was seriously injured in 2017 after being shot during a baseball practice with colleagues. He recently announced he has blood cancer but insists he feels fine and is recovering. to the highest office.

Here’s what you need to know about how the House of Representatives elects its Speaker:

vote one by one

The Speaker is usually elected every two years, in January when the House of Representatives organizes a new session. If the Speaker dies, resigns or is dismissed, new elections can be held. This is the first election since the Speaker was removed from office.

Once the House reaches a quorum (the minimum number of people present), each party nominates a speaker. Republicans will nominate Scalise. Democrats will nominate and vote for the current leader, New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries.

House members take their seats during the speaker’s vote. It was one of the few times lawmakers sat around the chamber.

watch: Tamara Keith and Amy Walter face pressure to elect House speaker after Israel attacks

Once roll call begins, members are called individually and their choices are spoken aloud. A candidate to become Speaker requires a majority of the votes of House members present and voting. The House will vote as many times as necessary until someone reaches that threshold.

McCarthy narrowly won the speakership on the 15th ballot in January.

potential complications

Scalise faces several challenges as in-person voting approaches. Nearly half of the Republican conference supports Jordan. Although some of them say they will vote for Scalise now, he will need the support of nearly all House Republicans to win the speakership.

Additionally, lawmakers can vote for whoever they want on the floor. While it is tradition that a candidate for Speaker must be a member of the House of Representatives, this is not required. In January, some Republican lawmakers even called for voting for former President Donald Trump to take votes away from McCarthy.

read more: With House leadership vacuum, Trump enters speaker race

Historically, the magic number to become Speaker is 218 out of 435 members of the House of Representatives. But many previous speakers, including McCarthy and former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., took the podium with fewer votes than that because some members voted to attend rather than by name. Each member who is “present” in voting lowers the total number of votes needed to gain a majority.

There are currently 435 seats in the House of Representatives, with two seats vacant, meaning that each member voting for a nominee would need 217 votes to win the speakership.

passing of the gavel

Once the candidate for Speaker wins a majority of the votes cast, the Clerk will declare the Speaker elected.

A bipartisan committee, usually composed of members from the selected candidate’s state, then escorts the elected speaker to the podium to be sworn in. The new speaker then delivers a short speech as per tradition.

The outgoing speaker typically sits in the speaker’s chair with his successor, and the passing of the gavel is an acknowledgment of the peaceful transition of power. It’s unclear whether McCarthy will do so or if that task will fall to McHenry.

Start working now

Once the Speaker is sworn in, he or she immediately takes charge. A plaque bearing their name was hastily placed on the door of the spacious speaker’s office off the rotunda, and the person’s belongings were moved inside.

Within hours of his election in January, McCarthy was photographed pointing to his name above the door. Capitol workers were moving furniture out of the speaker’s office Wednesday.

Scalise said his first action if elected would be to pass a bipartisan resolution making clear the House’s support for Israel in its war with Hamas. The speaker must also quickly find a way to unite Republicans and keep the government open before a mid-November .

Associated Press writer Farnoush Amiri contributed to this report.

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