House Republicans trying to impose order on the process of selecting a new speaker of the House might try to change the rules as Wednesday’s planned vote looms on the successor to former Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
Republicans are considering a rule change that would require any candidate for speaker to get 217 or 218 votes before the closed-door GOP conference brings its potential speaker to the floor for a vote, according to Fox News. Currently, only a majority of Republicans is needed to pick a speaker candidate.
Republican Study Committee Chairman Rep. Kevin Hern of Oklahoma said the rule might be needed to move the process along.
“The American people are pretty weary right now on chaos if you will,” he told Fox News. “I don’t know that it’s healthy for the American morale to see chaos in the Middle East, chaos in Israel, and then chaos here.”
But in the House Republican conference, everything is contested.
“I don’t think we ought to be changing rules in the middle of an election,” Republican Rep. Steve Womack of Arkansas said. “I just don’t think that’s wise.
“I also think there is some wisdom of having members have their surnames called out, and have to … declare it to everybody. Secret ballot accomplishes very little, you know, other than gives you an opportunity to freely express yourself without being made known.”
Republican Rep. Dusty Johnson of South Dakota said there might be better ways to name a speaker than a series of floor votes.
“If it’s going to take us four days to get to 218, I think everybody should agree that burning that time on the floor is suboptimal,” he said, according to Fox News.
The contest is seen as essentially a duel between House Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana and Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan of Ohio.
McCarthy has said he would not run again, but that has not stopped his name from being bandied about as a potential candidate.
“I’m going to allow the conference to do their work,” he said.
However, McCarthy again tore into the small band of dissenters who sank his speakership.
If Republicans allow “a few individuals that love a camera more than they love the American public, we are not going to govern,” he said Monday, according to The Wall Street Journal.
GOP Rep. Nicole Malliotakis of New York, a Jordan supporter, said she would not mind having McCarthy back.
“I would love to see Kevin take another shot at it,” she said, according to the Journal.
House Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas said the House needs to know that the “world is watching,” according to The Associated Press.
“They are seeing a dysfunctional democracy,” he said.
“I look at the world and all of the threats that are out there and what kind of message are we sending to adversaries when we can’t govern, when we are dysfunctional, when we don’t even have a speaker of the House?” McCaul said Sunday, according to CNN.
“We have to get a speaker elected this week so we can get things on the floor like replenishing the Iron Dome,” McCaul said, referring to Israel’s air defense system.
But Rep. Max Miller of Ohio said all that is wishful thinking, according to Fox News.
“I don’t think we’re gonna get a speaker this week at all,” Miller said.