House Majority Leader Steve Scalise has joined U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan in the race to become the next speaker of the House.
Scalise, the No. 2 Republican in the House, was considered a likely successor after Kevin McCarthy was ousted on Tuesday. However, there were questions about whether Scalise, a shooting survivor, would want the job since he's battling multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer. He dispelled those concerns on Wednesday.
"This next chapter won’t be easy, but I know what it takes to fight and I am prepared for the battles that lie ahead," Scalise wrote in a letter to his colleagues.
Jordan, founder of the Freedom Caucus, announced his intention to run for speaker just a few hours earlier.
"The problems we face are challenging, but they are not insurmountable," Jordan said on Wednesday in a letter to fellow Republicans.
It's unclear whether Jordan or Scalise have enough support to get at least 217 votes to become a speaker. If every member of the House votes, they would only be able to lose four Republican votes if they get no support from Democrats.
It took Kevin McCarthy 15 votes before he became speaker in January.
McCarthy was ousted after Rep. Matt Gaetz filed a motion to vacate. Gaetz filed the motion after McCarthy passed a bill on Saturday, with Democratic support, to keep the government open. Gaetz was upset the bill didn't include funding cuts in funding to numerous federal agencies.
While Scalise and Jordan likely are more straightforward choices for Republicans looking to elect a speaker, another name has been tossed around. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene said she wants former President Trump to become speaker. The speaker of the House is not required to be an elected member of the legislative body. Trump has previously said he doesn't want the speaker position. He is currently the front-runner for the Republican nomination for president.
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