How a Steve Scalise promotion could help Louisiana, nation

13 April, 2018, 02:08 | Author: Diane Mills
  • California's Mc Carthy expected to seek speaker position if Republicans keep the House

Whether the party was united or not, Ryan's announcement could not have been more ill-timed, coming just months before a contentious midterm election that may wipe out the Republican majority in the House.

Some Republicans are suggesting that Paul Ryan should be pushed out as Speaker before the November elections.

"Steve Scalise is very popular among his colleagues and he's very high profile", said DuBos.

"You have a lot of the Southern states who are looking to shift leadership back to that part of the country", said Rep. Steve Russell, R-Okla.

Two House leaders aren't waiting.

That comment essentially put the onus on McCarthy to line up 218 votes, the number needed to become speaker next January should Republicans keep the majority.

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McCarthy remained in his post as whip, but has not given up his leadership ambitions. Ryan positioned his decision as a boon for the party, noting that he would continue fund-raising, and telling reporters, "I really do not believe whether I stay or go in 2019 is going to affect a person's individual race for Congress".

Lawmakers and GOP donors want a leader who can raise money, and there McCarthy has an advantage.

Neither man is known for rhetorical flourishes, with McCarthy, in particular, prone to sentences that defy the rules of grammar.

"Scalise has been struggling with an episode that almost ended his ascent within the leadership: In 2002, while serving as a state lawmaker, he attended a meeting of a white supremacist group in Louisiana and faced a firestorm when the episode was publicized in 2014". As things stand, McCarthy appears to be the favorite not only among the membership but also in the mind of perhaps the most important voice in the Republican Party, President Trump.

Conservative groups have awarded Scalise modestly stronger voting ratings than McCarthy. But that statement may be more semantics than truth, as both Scalise and McCarthy have been jockeying behind the scenes to secure votes, and Scalise may believe his path to the speakership is viable if McCarthy finds he doesn't have the votes. But McCarthy has worked to improve his relationship with conservatives, including trying to craft legislation cutting spending from the government budget enacted recently.

Ryan did not say where or how Scalise signaled he would not be challenging McCarthy. Walker said the Freedom Caucus would have more influence if GOP House numbers dwindle in 2018. No doubt, the Caucus will seek to use this fact as a means of gaining leverage and power within the Caucus and the price that they are likely to ask would likely include chairmanships (or Ranking Member if the GOP ends up the minority) of key House committees as well as leadership slots for some of the top members of the Freedom Caucus itself. McCarthy subsequently withdrew his bid, calling for a candidate that could get the support of all Republicans.

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