Steve Scalise withdrawing from US House speaker race amid intraparty division

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, October 13, 2023
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This photo taken on Oct. 11, 2023 shows the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., the United States. [Photo/Xinhua]

U.S. House Majority Leader Steve Scalise announced Thursday that he is withdrawing from the House speaker race after failing to garner enough support from the House Republicans.

"I just shared with my colleagues that I was withdrawing my name as a candidate for speaker-designee," Scalise said.

"If you look at where our conference is, there's still work to be done. Our conference still has to come together, and it's not there," said Scalise, adding that "there are still some people that have their own agendas."

On Wednesday, Scalise, the No. 2 Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, won the speaker nomination in a 113-99 vote over Jim Jordan, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and co-founder of the conservative House Freedom Caucus.

A win of only 14 votes by Scalise indicated the deep divisions among House Republicans.

The Louisiana Republican's latest decision will throw the party into more chaos, as it struggles to find someone who would reach the required simple majority threshold in the chamber to elect a speaker, with a slim 221-212 Republican majority.

A number of House Republicans have already said they won't back Scalise in a vote of the full chamber, including those who support Jordan, the right-wing Republican endorsed by former President Donald Trump, and those who are loyal allies of Kevin McCarthy, who was unprecedentedly booted out of his position last week.

McCarthy's ouster revealed the growing differences between the conservatives and moderates within the Republican party, which has caused turmoil and essentially paralyzed the House.

"The unsettled situation reflected deep rifts in the GOP that could prolong the race and lead to a drawn-out fight on the House floor," said an article recently published by The New York Times.

"Until a speaker is elected there's not going to be anything meaningful happening in the House, and the clock is ticking on the 45 days the government will stay open," Christopher Galdieri, a political science professor at Saint Anselm College, has told Xinhua.

The House is also under pressure to take action following the escalated Palestinian-Israeli conflict. With no leader in sight, none of the legislation can move forward, leaving Congress in limbo. 

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