House Republicans convened behind closed doors on Friday morning, following the unexpected departure of Majority Leader Steve Scalise from the race for the speakership the previous evening.
The Republican lawmakers gathered at 10 a.m., with a strict protocol in place that required them to leave their cell phones outside, as revealed by an invitation acquired by Fox News Digital.
During this meeting, discussions revolved around four amendments to the House Republican Conference Rules. These amendments aim to modify the criteria needed to select a speaker candidate before an official nomination on the House floor.
Steve Scalise, a representative from Louisiana, made a surprising move by stepping back from the House speaker contest. Among the proposed amendments, three emphasize the necessity for a speaker-elect to secure the endorsement of a majority of the entire House prior to a floor vote. Such conditions are anticipated to lead to prolonged internal discussions, especially considering the slim margin of dissent a candidate can afford among house Republicans.
One of the amendments, presented by Rep. Chip Roy of Texas, suggests a cap on the number of attempts a candidate can make in a secret ballot vote. If a candidate doesn’t achieve the required 217 votes, other contenders might be considered. Another amendment, introduced by Rep. William Timmons of South Carolina, proposes a higher vote threshold and includes a Q&A segment, though it doesn’t specify the number of voting rounds.
Rep. Kat Cammack of Florida has put forth an amendment that requires a speaker designate to achieve a significant majority of the conference vote in a private session. This development follows after Scalise’s nomination as the House Republicans’ choice for speaker by a simple majority. There had been speculations about a full-floor vote on the same day, but it became evident that Scalise faced considerable opposition.
As of early Friday, while House Republicans might decide on a new candidate, no official declarations have been made. Speculation surrounds House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan of Ohio who had previously secured a significant number of votes. Other potential candidates include House Majority Whip Tom Emmer of Minnesota and Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, but their intentions remain unconfirmed.
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