In a recent closed-door, secret-ballot election, Republicans nominated Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., for the next House speaker. However, the path to becoming the House speaker is uncertain due to a razor-thin majority and concerns about his health.
Who Is Steve Scalise?
Steve Scalise, 58, began his political journey in 2008 when he was elected in a special election to replace Bobby Jindal, the newly elected governor of Louisiana. Prior to that, Scalise had a background in systems engineering.
Scalise also served as the speaker of LSU’s student government association during his time at Louisiana State University and then spent 12 years as a member of the Louisiana State Legislature before entering the U.S. House.
In 2012, Scalise’s career took a significant turn when he became the chairman of the influential Republican Study Group.
His resilience was evident when, as House majority whip in 2017, he survived a gunshot wound during a congressional baseball team practice in Alexandria, Virginia.
A Fighter’s Return
In August this year, Scalise was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. He described this as a, “very treatable blood cancer” and despite these health challenges, he remains committed to his political career.
After the shooting incident, Scalise made a remarkable return to the House, receiving a standing ovation from his colleagues. He went on to champion Second Amendment rights, highlighting the importance of armed Capitol Police officers in thwarting the shooter and saving lives.
In a tight contest, Scalise secured a 113-99 vote victory over House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, during the closed-door election.
Divided Opinions Within the Party
This vote gave Scalise a narrow majority of the Republican votes in the chamber, but he still will need to secure the 217 votes required for victory on the House floor.
Scalise’s journey to the House speaker nomination is not without its share of hurdles. While Jordan plans to vote for Scalise on the House floor and is encouraging his colleagues to do the same, some Republicans remain divided.
Rep. Max Miller, R-Ohio, expressed his support continued support for Jim Jordan. After the vote on Wednesday, Miller said the race was, “not over.”
Sacrificing His Health
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., expressed her concern for Scalise’s health, citing his battle with multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer, as her reason for not voting for him.
Greene posted, “I like Steve Scalise, and I like him so much that I want to see him defeat cancer more than sacrifice his health in the most difficult position in Congress.”
Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., highlighted the importance of a viable plan to avoid an omnibus spending bill. Masie said he has not committed to Scalise because “he has not articulated a viable plan for avoiding an omnibus” spending bill.
This issue is pressing, given that government funding expires on November 17.
In response to this new vote, many have spoken out against the use of a closed-door vote to pick the new speaker, expressing growing frustration with the republican party.
One social media user said, “Republican voters overwhelmingly wanted Jim Jordan over Steve Scalise for Speaker – so naturally the Republican Party did a secret ballot behind closed doors to pick Steve Scalise.”
On X, the app formerly known as Twitter, a second user commented, “Everyone I seen on here and even talked to about it wanted Jim Jordan. But what does our elected representatives do? Exactly! They do the exact opposite of what the people want just as they do time and time again.”
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