House Majority Leader Steve Scalise has announced his candidacy for speaker of the House of Representatives, according to a letter he sent his colleagues on Wednesday.
Scalise’s announcement comes one day after Kevin McCarthy was removed from the speakership by Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, whose motion to vacate the chair of the House passed on Tuesday by a vote of 216-210.
Since then, Gaetz and other House Republicans have suggested that Scalise would be an acceptable choice to replace McCarthy.
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“Now, more than ever, we must mend the deep wounds that exist within our Conference and focus on our objectives so we can get back to work for the millions of people who are counting on us. It is with that sense of responsibility and purpose that I am seeking the Conference’s nomination for Speaker of the House,” Scalise wrote. “I have a proven track record of bringing together the diverse array of viewpoints within our Conference to build consensus where others thought it impossible.”
Scalise’s announcement comes hours after House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan announced that he would seek the speakership in a separate letter to colleagues. “I helped to deliver the most significant legislative accomplishment in this Congress: the strongest immigration and border enforcement bill ever … I am doing the oversight and holding the Administration accountable,” Jordan wrote in his letter.
“I think the world of Steve Scalise. I think he would make a phenomenal speaker,” Gaetz told the DCNF at a press scrum following Tuesday’s vote. A spokesperson for Republican Rep. Drew Ferguson of Georgia told the DCNF that he supports Scalise as the next speaker.
Scalise was also endorsed by Republican Rep. Tony Gonzales of Texas on Twitter. During McCarthy’s speakership, Scalise often defended his decisions and, ahead of Tuesday’s vote, delivered speeches in his defense.
Scalise is currently undergoing treatment for blood cancer and has been absent from most recent proceedings of the House. He was seen wearing a mask during Tuesday’s vote.
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Were Scalise to be elected speaker, he would be placed third in the presidential line of succession. Congressional leaders have previously averred from choosing individuals with health concerns for such posts, with the late Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, who suffered shingles and cognitive issues, being denied the position of president pro tempore of the Senate — which is fourth in line to the presidency — in favor of Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, during the 118th Congress.
Jordan’s office did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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