Good morning from a frazzled Washington, DC following a three-day weekend where not much has changed – but everything has at the same time. Much like my six-year-old son in his almost empty jiujitsu class last night due to the holiday, the House is the only game in town. Just as my son has previously struggled to nail certain moves, we have all seen the House struggle to function in the best of times. The Senate is out until next week, and all eyes remain on the race for the next House Speaker. This week we get into a quick overview of the candidates and where the House is in the process. Of course, the politics of the House are taking on new urgency as Hamas militants attacked Israel leaving hundreds dead and many (including US citizens) taken as hostages. Bipartisan calls for assistance to Israel are underway, complicating political stances on foreign affairs issues for members of both parties.
The Speaker’s race has come down to two candidates. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA). Today, Republican House members will meet in conference. Both candidates will make a case to the Republicans on why they should lead the party (and the House) into the remaining of the year. On Wednesday, the House is expected to vote for a new Speaker, but will Republicans have agreed on their leader? Here we run down the ins and outs of the candidates for the Speakership.
Jim Jordan (R-0H)
Jim Jordan is an ultra-conservative right leaning candidate. He can garner solid support from the House Freedom Caucus and other conservative members. Jordan has the backing of many conservatives as well as former President Trump. He is in the inner circle of former Speaker McCarthy. If the former Speaker decides to put his weight behind the Jordan candidacy, it will ensure him the necessary votes to put him over the edge. Currently, it is believed that Jim Jordan will have to do a lot of back-room dealings to keep the rank and file happy, and he would have to make deals to keep the status quo while trying to unite the Conference.
Steve Scalise (R-LA)
Steve Scalise is the current Majority Leader in the House. He is known for his fundraising abilities, and he is the former Republican Study Conference (RSC) Chairman who took out a rank-and-file member Peter Roskam back in 2014. He was quietly working behind the scenes for the Speakership until former Speaker McCarthy decided to resign. He has a lot of support amongst the rank and file, but he will have a difficult time delivering the Freedom Caucus as they view him a continuation of McCarthy’s leadership. Also, Leader Scalise is recovering from cancer and his health remains a concern for some members.
Patrick McHenry (R-NC)
There are several rank and file and former McCarthy loyalists calling for the drafting of McHenry for Speaker because of his leadership as the presiding Chair. This would be a difficult climb with the Freedom Caucus as they view him as a continuation of the McCarthy era. Even though several of the Freedom Caucus members are impressed with his leadership abilities.
Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)
Kevin McCarthy (you are reading this correctly) there is a long shot bid that McCarthy could become Speaker once again. Since the attack on Israel this past weekend, many are wanting him to put his hat in the ring because of his leadership abilities and help guide the conference through a very difficult time with the current pressing foreign policy issues. Additionally, many in the Republican Caucus are unsure if Scalise or Jordan can get to 217 votes. McCarthy stated he would return to the role if that were the will of the party.
Senators and former Speaker Kevin McCarthy were on the Sunday talk shows highlighting the need for the House to come together and select a Speaker considering current world events. Hopefully, the resolve will come by Wednesday where they are expected to vote on a new Speaker.
President Biden will make remarks later this afternoon on the attacks on Israel. The Hamas attack has upended much of the President’s political calculus on other issues. Bipartisan lawmakers are urging the Biden administration to pursue a joint aid package for Israel and Ukraine that would capitalize on bipartisan support for the Jewish state. Such efforts could overcome opposition from some Republicans on continued funding for Ukraine.
On the health front, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will host its Quarterly National Stakeholder with Administrator Brooks LaSure to discuss implementation of CMS’ Strategic National Plan. Interested parties can register here.
Create a great day!