McCarthy ousted, Scalise backs out: How US House crisis is likely to play out?

The United States leadership has been confronted with a leadership crisis after speaker Kevin McCarthy was ousted and the only nominee of the Republicans for the post of House Speaker, Steve Scalise, backed out. While Scalise taking a step back only mirrors McCarthy’s vow to not fight the contest again, it also reiterates that the GoP is ungovernable. 

More than ten days have now passed since the Speaker’s chair was vacated after an unprecedented vote to oust Kevin McCarthy from the job.

Scalise was plagued by the same reasons that cause McCarthy‘s ouster in the first place. The Republicans may be ruling the House but with a narrow majority.

To successfully secure the votes needed to win a floor vote, Scalise needed 217 of 221 Republican representatives (House members) to vote for him. Only five rebels were needed to torpedo his leadership ambitions.

Now that Scalise has stepped down from the race, there are three possible exit routes for this leadership crisis that has gripped US ahead of the 2024 Presidential Polls. 

“Exciting news! Mint is now on WhatsApp Channels 🚀 Subscribe today by clicking the link and stay updated with the latest financial insights!” Click here!

Let’s take a look

Jim Jordan gets the majority vote

Republican Jim Jordan, a leader of the right-wing House Freedom Caucus, won a Republican vote to be the nominee after his colleague Steve Scalise stepped aside. If Jordan manages to receive 217 votes in House votes, then the Speaker seat and gavel may have a new taker. 

In the earlier vote wherein Scalise was made Republican nominee, Jordan had earned 99 votes to Scalise’s 113.

However, not all Republicans want to see Jordan as speaker.

Jordan is known for his close alliance with Trump, particularly when the then-president was working to overturn the results of the 2020 election, leading to the 6 January 2021, attack on the Capitol.

His rise would all but complete the far-rightward shift of the party, and boost its defense of Donald Trump in four separate legal cases, including over 2020 election fraud, reports AP

US House elects a temporary speaker

The second exit route could be if US House‘s acting Speaker, Patrick McHenry, is granted extra powers temporarily. This would loosen the deadlock in passing orders, allowing the House to function – and avoid a government shutdown in a month’s time.

However, such an arrangement would require some co-operation from Democrats to work out the details.

Democrats – Republican consensus

The third, and almost seemingly impossible exit route would be if the US Democrats and the Republicans reach a common consensus, in terms of selecting a candidate both parties favour. 

This option, however, would entail concessions to the minority party. Democrats want to eliminate a new rule introduced in January that gives any member the power to bring a vote to the floor to overthrow the Speaker, reports BBC. 

A likely candidate would be Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, who as per Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, could be voted speaker if ‘five Republicans could switch sides and vote for Mr Jeffries to become Speaker.

“Exciting news! Mint is now on WhatsApp Channels 🚀 Subscribe today by clicking the link and stay updated with the latest financial insights!” Click here!

Catch all the Politics News and Updates on Live Mint.
Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates & Live Business News.


Updated: 14 Oct 2023, 06:18 PM IST