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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - WASHINGTON — House Republicans are meeting behind closed doors Wednesday to pick a nominee to be the next speaker – but it remains unclear whether any candidate will have enough support to win the gavel following Kevin McCarthy’s abrupt ouster.
As of now, neither Reps. Steve Scalise nor Jim Jordan — the two declared GOP candidates in the race — have locked down 217 votes, the necessary number to be elected speaker by a majority vote of the full chamber.
GOP members must first determine whether to change conference rules to raise the threshold to nominate a speaker. Despite McCarthy urging GOP supporters not to nominate him, some in the conference believe he may still get some votes.
House Majority Leader Scalise told reporters, “We’re gonna get this done,” as he walked into the room where House Republicans are meeting to pick a nominee to be the next speaker.
Speaker candidate Rep. Jordan wouldn’t say if he would support Scalise if he wins the nomination, saying he’d support whoever can get 217 votes.
To win the nomination under current rules it would require 111 votes but there will be a vote this morning to raise the threshold to 217, which is a majority of the full House.
“I will support anyone who can get 217 votes,” Jordan said when asked by CNN’s Manu Raju if he would back Scalise if he wins the nomination. “
The following members are slated to give speeches to nominate Rep. Jordan for speaker today: Rep. Kelly Armstrong, a McCarthy ally; Rep. Erin Houchin, a freshman member, and Rep. Mike Carey, an Ohio Republican, according to a source familiar.
The lineup — not made up of Freedom Caucus firebrands — shows how Jordan continues to try to appeal to the middle of his conference.
Meanwhile, according to a source familiar, Rep. Frank Lucas, a committee chairman; Rep. Ashley Hinson, who is close with GOP leadership; and Rep. John James, a freshman who was a top recruit, are slated to give speeches to nominate Rep. Scalise.
Former House Speaker McCarthy said there’s a “good chance” the speaker’s race gets resolved Wednesday, sounding an optimistic note that the divided House GOP conference can come to a consensus.
“Good chance,” he told CNN leaving a House briefing on Israel on his way to the House GOP conference meeting for the speaker’s race.
McCarthy declined to weigh in on the prospect of a rules change Republicans will consider first on when they would hold a floor vote for speaker, saying that it was up to the conference to decide.
Also, Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin said that House Republicans need to figure out what they are going to do about filling the speaker’s vacancy Wednesday, in light of the conflict in Israel.
“The House needs to have a speaker. This is just chaos under the Republican mismanagement of the House of Representatives and we’re hopeful that they’ll be able to have some clarity about what they want to do today,” he told reporters.
He insisted that House Democrats are united in the belief that Israel has the right to defend itself, despite calls from several members for a ceasefire.
“We’re absolutely unified behind Israel’s right to exist and Israel’s right to defend itself, and we’ll be standing strong with Israel,” he said. “All that I’ve heard is a very powerful consensus that we need to stand by Israel as it defends itself and as it restores the rule of law and the security of its citizens and the security and the human rights for everybody in the region.”
In another development, Republican Rep. Don Bacon attacked the eight House Republicans who voted to oust McCarthy as speaker, noting that it had put them in a tough position during a global crisis unfolding in the Middle East.
“First of all, I condemn the 8 people who did this to our party. We are vacant in a time where there is a need,” he said Wednesday morning as he left a classified briefing.
“We have to get a speaker in position, we need to support Israel right away, and we have a continuing resolution that is going to stop in mid-November. We got to fix this.”
Bacon said that he supports a rule change that would require the House GOP nominee for speaker to get 217 votes — the number required for a majority, with current vacancies — in order to proceed to the floor vote.
“I think so, because we should have 217 votes before going to the floor. Doing 15 votes like we did in January was not wise. So I think we should fix that ahead of time,” he told reporters.
He would not say who he was supporting yet, noting that he and House Majority Leader Steve Scalise have long been close, but that he was impressed by Rep. Jim Jordan’s promise to work with members across the conference. — CNN
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