House Republicans are struggling to elect a chamber speaker after ousting former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.
House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., was tapped by his caucus in a secret vote but couldn’t get enough support to win the chair, and he withdrew Thursday night. Rep. Jim Jordan won a secret ballot among the GOP members Friday for the speakership, but it’s unclear whether he can rally enough votes from his party.
Regardless of who the speaker is, the new leader faces a lot of work as the House looks ahead to several government funding bills.
With conservatives desperate to curb spending as the federal debt is above $33 trillion and pressure from the White House and a bipartisan majority of lawmakers for more Ukraine aid, the new speaker will immediately inherit a monetary maelstrom and have to fund the government before current appropriations expire Nov. 17.
The House and Senate must pass a combined 12 appropriations bills between them — with 11 coming from the House — to avoid a government shutdown.
In recent history, Congress has simply passed concurrent resolutions (CR) and supplemental bills. When McCarthy won the speakership in January, some Republicans viewed their support as conditional to passing appropriations bills.
Days after Congress averted a partial government shutdown at the end of September with a short-term CR, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz triggered a vote to remove McCarthy.
Since McCarthy’s ouster, Congress is more than a week closer to the November deadline to fund the government.
With Capitol Hill Christmas season also comes gifts from lawmakers to themselves in the form of earmarks.
Earmarks are a recent addition to the House rules that allow for members to sequester federal funds for pet projects.
The eventual speaker will also have to navigate the amendment minefield as the House works to get funding bills through.
The House’s paralysis has stretched on for over a week since McCarthy’s historic ouster.
Scalise defeated House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, to get the initial nomination for speaker.
His nomination was short-lived. Scalise dropped out of the race late Thursday night.
Jordan is now the frontrunner to be the next GOP nominee for speaker but has seen moderate colleagues push back on his candidacy.
The House cannot conduct business until a speaker is chosen, and it is unclear when a floor vote will happen to officially place someone in the role.
Until then, North Carolina Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry sits as the speaker pro tempore, a position created after the 9/11 attacks.