Lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives are set to meet Thursday as Republican Steve Scalise faces a test of whether he can get enough support from his party to become the next House speaker.
Republicans nominated Scalise in a closed-door vote Wednesday to be their choice to replace former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who was ousted last week.
He won the internal party ballot 113-99, beating out House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan.
The 58-year-old Scalise won the backing of Republicans with support primarily coming from long-time and establishment party members.
Scalise must now gain approval of the full House, where Republicans hold a slim 221-212 majority, meaning they will need to unite behind a candidate in order to reach the required simple majority threshold to elect a speaker.
It is not clear whether Jordan’s supporters will back Scalise, although both men stated that following the closed-door vote, they would support the Republican Party’s nominee.
McCarthy needed 15 rounds of voting to win in January as Democrats fully backed their candidate, House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries. Some Republicans held out until McCarthy made certain concessions.
Among the concessions was allowing any single member to file a motion to vacate and force a vote on whether to remove the speaker. Republican Representative Matt Gaetz filed a motion after McCarthy relied on Democratic votes to avert a government shutdown.
This motion saw McCarthy become the first speaker to be formally voted out of his position.
The speaker vacancy has brought work in the House to a halt, with a mid-November deadline pending to finish work on multiple funding bills or else again face the prospect of a government shutdown. Aid for Ukraine is also waiting for approval.
Additionally, the urgent need for a resolution based on the recent developments in Israel has prompted Republican lawmakers to reiterate the need to swiftly elect a new speaker, allowing the House to return to work.
“It’s really, really important that this Congress get back to work,” Scalise said.
Some information for this story came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.