Just one day after securing the Republican nomination for House Speaker, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) has decided to step down from the race. Scalise acknowledged the challenges facing the House of Representatives and the need for unity to move forward.
During a secret ballot internal GOP election on Wednesday, Scalise narrowly secured victory, but it became evident that achieving the 217 votes required on the House floor would be a formidable challenge. As Thursday unfolded, more Republicans announced their unwillingness to vote for him.
The divided Republican conference faces uncertainty about its next steps, with the House approaching ten days without an elected Speaker. Scalise managed to win the secret ballot election against Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), with 113 votes to Jordan’s 99. Despite Jordan’s subsequent support for Scalise, many of his followers were not willing to follow suit.
Expectations were already low among Republicans regarding the swift selection of a new Speaker. The challenges within the party have made the process more complex, particularly in light of pressing national issues such as the conflict in Israel, the border situation, the economy’s instability, and an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.
Republicans must prioritize unity and promptly elect a Speaker to address the country’s critical issues effectively. Now, more than ever, is not the time for division within the Republican Party.