House Republicans have rejected a plan to raise the threshold needed to select a GOP speaker nominee — a move aimed at preventing a messy public fight.
Although it’s unclear whether either lawmaker has enough support to win, the House GOP is meeting behind closed doors Wednesday to nominate a speaker. The vote to reject the motion took place during the current meeting. The rules would have changed the threshold for electing a speaker nominee from a GOP caucus majority, or 111 votes – 217 votes, a majority of the full House, the number needed to win when the entire chamber holds the speaker’s vote. Vote.
The effort to change the rules is aimed at avoiding a protracted fight like the one in January, when former Speaker Kevin McCarthy took 15 rounds to win.
It’s not yet clear when the House will hold a full-chamber vote on a new speaker, but it could happen as soon as Wednesday.
So far, neither House Majority Leader Steve Scalise nor Representative Jim Jordan — both announced GOP candidates in the race — have locked in the 217 votes needed to be elected speaker by a majority vote of the entire chamber. The uncertain vote tally has raised questions about how and when the GOP majority will be able to elect a new speaker.
The House was effectively paralyzed following McCarthy’s ouster until a speaker was elected, an unprecedented situation that took on new urgency amid Israel’s war against Hamas. Raising the stakes further, it will take longer for Republicans to choose a new speaker, with a funding deadline looming in mid-November, leaving lawmakers with less time to avoid a government shutdown.
Following a candidate forum Tuesday evening, California Republican Rep. Mike Garcia said he thinks it’s “50/50” whether the GOP can pick a speaker Wednesday.
Asked if anyone could get 217 votes, he said, “I think that’s a big question right now.”
GOP Rep. Thomas Massey of Kentucky estimated the odds even lower. “I’d put it at 2%,” he said when asked by a reporter what the chances were of having a new House speaker by Wednesday.
After being ousted as speaker in a historic vote last week, McCarthy announced he would not seek re-election. But allies of the former speaker could still nominate him during a closed-door meeting on Wednesday, although McCarthy said he told members not to.
Currently, a candidate needs only a simple majority of the convention — or 111 votes — to win the GOP nomination for speaker, far short of the 217 votes needed to win the House Ford.
Many Republicans now say the threshold is too low because it doesn’t guarantee that a candidate can win a vote for speaker.
As a result, there is a push to raise the threshold for getting the GOP nomination from a majority of House Republicans to a majority in the full House, in an effort to avoid a protracted fight like the one that took 15 rounds in January. Vote for McCarthy and win.
The timing of the House floor vote is technically up to Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry, who serves in the top leadership spot on an interim basis. However, whoever the GOP nominee is is expected to defer, and voting time will be their call.
This story and topic have been updated with additional improvements.