IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.
Last updated

House speaker race highlights: Steve Scalise drops out and what happens next

The House Republicans voted to nominate Scalise yesterday, but he was unable to get all of those who voted for Rep. Jim Jordan to back him ahead of a floor vote.

The latest news and updates on the House speaker fight:

  • Rep. Steve Scalise, of Louisiana, abandoned his bid to be the next speaker, announcing tonight he would withdraw a little more than 24 hours after House Republicans nominated him to replace Rep. Kevin McCarthy, of California.
  • Scalise defeated Rep. Jim Jordan, of Ohio, but it remains unclear whether Jordan can now secure the nomination from Republicans or whether he could get 217 votes on the House floor.
  • Democrats are backing House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, of New York.
  • The race was triggered last week when Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., made a motion to vacate the chair of speaker and won a majority vote when all Democrats and eight Republicans voted against McCarthy.
  • The House has been left leaderless as a brutal attack by Hamas against Israel unfolded, which has led to deadly airstrikes on Gaza, leaving Congress unable to mobilize any aid or response.

Coverage on this live blog has ended. Follow the latest updates from NBC News here.

49d ago / 2:37 AM UTC

Jordan mum on whether he'll launch another speaker bid

Jordan dodged questions tonight about whether he plans to launch another bid for speaker.

"Look, when I decided to run before, I waited until the next day after Kevin [McCarthy] made his decision. I thought that was appropriate. I will do the same thing right now. I’ll wait," he told reporters.

49d ago / 2:25 AM UTC

Rep. Ann Wagner: 'HELL NO' on Jordan as speaker

At least one House Republican is more than just a no on Jordan as a potential nominee for speaker.

Asked whether she could confirm she was a no on Jordan, Rep. Ann Wagner of Missouri responded via text that she was a “HELL NO.”

49d ago / 2:08 AM UTC

Conservatives say they aren’t worried about empowering Democrats in speaker race

Despite all the chaos, conservative Republicans say they have no concern that some in their party may team up with Democrats to elect a speaker.

“That’s the thing that gets you beat in a primary,” said Rep. Kevin Hern, R-Okla.

“You’d get your a-- beat,” said Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn.

49d ago / 1:34 AM UTC

Republicans to meet again tomorrow at 10 a.m.


The House Republicans will huddle again at 10 a.m. tomorrow.

49d ago / 1:29 AM UTC

House adjourns until 9 a.m. tomorrow

The House stands adjourned until 9 a.m. ET tomorrow.

49d ago / 1:22 AM UTC

Jordan departs meetings

Jordan has left the meeting.

49d ago / 1:14 AM UTC

Rep. Mike Garcia questions whether Jordan can get to 217 votes

Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Calif., predicted Jordan might have the same problem that Scalise faced — getting 217 votes on the House floor.

"I think it's a math problem, frankly," Garcia said.

"There's an academic debate about whether we reward, you know, the tyranny of the minority in this case," he said, adding, "I would support Jordan."

"The problem is I think there's enough people who see what's happened in the last 48 hours to not support him that we're going to have the same problem with Jordan that we had with Scalise."

49d ago / 1:03 AM UTC

Rep. Collins: 'We should just have a lottery'

Rep. Mike Collins, R-Ga., poked fun at the GOP's struggles to select a speaker. He posted on X: "We should just have a lottery. If you lose, you have to be speaker."

49d ago / 1:03 AM UTC

New York Republican says Jordan should get a shot at speaker

Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, R-N.Y., said her GOP colleagues should give Jordan an opportunity for the speakership.

"Look, I supported Kevin McCarthy," Malliotakis said, adding that she initially supported Jordan as his successor but that he "did not get the most votes, Steve Scalise did."

"If Steve Scalise doesn’t have the votes then we need to see, maybe Jim Jordan can get to the 217 necessary. We never asked that question," she said.

Malliotakis described herself as a "team player" and said there "seems to be a small group that doesn’t want to work with the team. And that is frustrating for me, because I’m fine with any of those three to be the speaker. I just want to get back to work and do my job."

"We have real world stuff happening," she added.

49d ago / 12:49 AM UTC

Van Drew: Jordan should have a chance

Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J., said Republicans are still working out the process of whether they nominate a new speaker or go straight to Jordan.

“I think Congressman Jordan should have his chance to reach that number. If he cannot then we have to move on,” he said, adding that Republicans must “get our act together.”

49d ago / 12:48 AM UTC

Santos praises Scalise upon withdrawal from race, a reversal from earlier comments

In a post on X, embattled Rep. George Santos wrote, "I applaud Congressman Steve Scalise for his diligence and hard work." That is a reversal from his comments last night declaring himself to be "an ANYONE but Scalise" voter.

49d ago / 12:45 AM UTC

Rep. Mauser says members floating Jordan as a replacement, reaction was 'positive'

Jordan's name has been floated as a possible replacement for Scalise, Rep. Dan Mauser of Pennsylvania said. He said the reaction to Jordan, who got 99 votes in the nomination vote yesterday before he dropped out of the running, was "positive."

He said Jordan had not addressed the conference, but "he might."

49d ago / 12:39 AM UTC

The House is still in recess

The House is still in recess subject to the call of the chair. So McHenry will have to go back to the floor at some point to adjourn until a specific time.

49d ago / 12:37 AM UTC

'No earthly idea': Republicans leave meeting at a loss

Rep. Mark Alford, R-Mo., said he’s at a loss for what comes next.

“I have no earthly idea. I’m a freshman caught up in this maelstrom," he said. "We’re a ship that doesn’t have a rudder right now. And I’m thoroughly disappointed in the process. And I just pray to God that we find something.”

49d ago / 12:29 AM UTC

House Republicans still meeting

The meeting of House Republicans has not yet ended, and most of the members remain behind closed doors — where they may be deciding what to do next.

49d ago / 12:17 AM UTC

McCarthy: Republicans need to figure it out

After Scalise called it quits, McCarthy said Republicans need to figure out how to elect a new leader.

" I just think the conference as a whole has to figure out their problem-solving and select a leader," he told reporters in the hallway.

49d ago / 12:14 AM UTC

Banks says Jordan should be the speaker designee after Scalise quits

Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., said Republicans should move to Jordan, who narrowly lost the nomination to Scalise.

“I voted for Jim Jordan in the conference election yesterday and I remain committed to doing everything I can to help elect him the next Speaker of the House. He is a conservative fighter and a leader who can unite our party,” Banks said in a statement moments after Scalise withdrew.

49d ago / 12:13 AM UTC

'Quite a journey,' Scalise tells reporters after dropping bid

Scalise confirmed to reporters he was dropping his bid for speaker a day after his nomination.

"I just shared with my colleagues that I’m withdrawing my name as candidate for the speaker designee," he said. "Our conference still has to come together and is not there. There are still some people that have their own agendas. And it was very clear we have to have everybody put their agendas on the side and focus on what this country needs."

He added that there are "some folks that really need to look in the mirror in the next couple of days and decide are we going to get back on track? Are they going to try to pursue their own agenda? You can’t do both. And I think we’re going to get there."

49d ago / 11:59 PM UTC

Steve Scalise withdraws from speaker race

Steve Scalise has withdrawn from the speaker's race, he told Republicans in a closed-door meeting moments ago.

49d ago / 11:53 PM UTC

House Republicans are heading into another meeting

GOP lawmakers were spotted heading into a new meeting scheduled for 7:30 this evening.

On his way into the meeting, Scalise said they will continue discussions with members.

Other high-ranking attendees included Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry.

49d ago / 11:10 PM UTC

House GOP will meet again tonight


According to an invitation obtained by NBC News, the House GOP will meet in a basement conference at 7:30 tonight as many members are heading out of town, making it even harder to reach the required threshold of 217.

49d ago / 11:10 PM UTC

House Dems are told to stay in Washington for possible vote tomorrow


In a note to House Democrats, Clark told members to plan on being present and voting and that a speaker vote is possible tomorrow.

49d ago / 11:09 PM UTC

House to adjourn without voting

The House is expected to adjourn tonight without a vote on speaker, according to a notice sent to all Democrats by Whip Clark.

49d ago / 10:10 PM UTC

Rep. Michael Cloud says little progress made on winning over Scalise holdouts like himself

Walking out of Scalise’s office, Rep. Michael Cloud, R-Texas, one of the Scalise holdouts, said he didn’t think Scalise had flipped any votes to the yes column.

“It doesn’t mean there’s not healthy conversations for us as a conference,” Cloud told reporters.

Asked whether Scalise should drop out, Cloud replied: “I’ll leave that to him.”

Cloud said he will vote for Jordan if a floor vote is called.

49d ago / 9:47 PM UTC

House Republican on speaker's race: 'Lord Jesus himself' couldn't get 217 votes


Rep. Troy Nehls, R-Texas, said the fight to name a speaker is so divisive that one Republican member said they didn't think "Lord Jesus himself" could get the 217 votes needed to win.

In describing today's closed-door deliberations with fellow House Republicans, Nehls said, "One of the members said in there, 'You know, I don’t think the Lord Jesus himself could get to 217.'" He didn't name the lawmaker.

Nehls said he didn't see any one candidate whom Republican members can agree on.

"That says that we’re dysfunctional. We’re disorganized and we’re broken," he said.

49d ago / 8:49 PM UTC

Chaos persists as ‘fractured’ House GOP frets about when — or if — it’ll elect a speaker

More than 24 hours after Republicans nominated Scalise to be the next House speaker, they remained mired in divisions and no closer to electing him as deep anxiety persisted after an hourslong meeting.

Leaving the meeting before it ended, Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., openly fretted that his party’s narrow majority may never find the 217 votes necessary to elect a speaker.

He blasted eight Republican “traitors” — a word he used four times in a hallway interview — who voted with Democrats to remove McCarthy and “put us in this situation.” And if those eight decide to back Scalise, Rogers warned, “then there’s just another eight like them” who could create further trouble.

“The bottom line is we have a very fractured conference, and to limit ourselves to just getting 217 out of our conference, I think, is not a wise path,” Rogers said, adding that Republicans may “absolutely” need some Democratic votes to elect a speaker.

Read the full story here.

49d ago / 8:19 PM UTC

House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Turner supporting Scalise

House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Turner of Ohio is now supporting Scalise for speaker. He spoke in the conference meeting today in support of the majority leader, a source familiar tells NBC. Turner was previously undecided.

49d ago / 7:40 PM UTC

Jordan continues to support Scalise as speaker nominee


Jordan told reporters this afternoon that he will continue to stand behind Scalise as the Republican nominee for House speaker and hopes his supporters will do the same.

Jordan said that Scalise is the "speaker designee" and he will work to get members behind him.

The Ohio congressman again said that he will not be running for the role, and Scalise is "where we need to go."

Jordan deferred questions about McHenry stepping up as a temporary speaker, emphasizing instead that Scalise has obtained House Republicans' nomination.

49d ago / 7:30 PM UTC

Scalise said Republican meeting was 'very constructive'


Scalise told reporters that House Republicans had a "very constructive two-and-a-half-hour long meeting" this afternoon, and now members will continue to speak in smaller groups.

Scalise said that he wanted to speak to all the Republican members, rather than just individually or in smaller groups, to try to "bring our conference together."

"Obviously issues have come up over the last week about the whole process of how we get our conference back on track. But then individually, people have had questions, and I felt would be much better if we did it in full view, where it’s not individually where people don’t think that there are side deals going on where everybody can see as Republicans talking amongst ourselves what those issues are," Scalise said.

"The good news is our support continues to grow. We’re continuing to work to narrow the gap. And that’s going on and we’re going to continue the meetings,” he added.

49d ago / 7:29 PM UTC

Scalise holding meetings

Among those heading in to meet with Scalise now are moderate Rep. David Valadao, R-Calif., and conservative Republican Study Committee Chair Kevin Hern of Oklahoma.

49d ago / 6:53 PM UTC

Republican meeting over

The Republican meeting is over.

49d ago / 6:49 PM UTC

Republican lawmaker laments fight impeding ability to help in Israel and Gaza


Rep. Zach Nunn, R-Iowa, told reporters that it's time to elect a speaker and start prioritizing passing budgets and empowering national security amid the Israel-Hamas war.

“I woke up this morning and we’ve worked with a family from my home district in Iowa, who’s trying to get out of Israel. We got him on private chartered aircraft thanks to our incredible governor. I’ve got another family from a district in Des Moines, who is trapped in the Gaza Strip right now, because they went over to see six family members," he said.

Nunn said that he came to D.C. to "start moving out on policy bills that actually help people in my home district." He said that it's time to start passing budgets and move forward with national security.

"We spend more time getting together and actually electing a speaker and at this point, I care less who that person is, and more that they’re willing to get policy to the floor," he said.

"There’s a lot of people, with a lot of baggage. They need to move beyond what’s in their personal interest and start putting their 750,000 bosses' interests before their own," Nunn added.

49d ago / 6:44 PM UTC

Joyce says he believes members are 'coming around' to empowering McHenry temporarily


Rep. Dave Joyce, R-Ohio., told NBC News this afternoon that he believes more House members are "coming around" to his belief that McHenry should be empowered as actual speaker for a limited term.

Joyce says he has been pushing for McHenry to step in as speaker since McCarthy lost his position, saying McHenry could potentially hold an actual speaker position for "30, 45 to 60 days, something along those lines."

Joyce said that the House has to get to the floor and figure out if Scalise will win as the next speaker and move on from there.

"In the meantime, as we all know, the world is on fire. And we need to address these problems ... it's important that we get back to the business of running this country," he said.

CORRECTION (Oct. 13, 2023, 11:10 a.m. ET): A previous version of this post misattributed a quote. It was Dave Joyce, R-Ohio, not John Joyce, R-Pa.

49d ago / 6:31 PM UTC

Rogers storms out of GOP meeting, rips 'eight traitors' who voted to oust McCarthy


Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., abruptly left the meeting with his Republican colleagues, blasting the "eight traitors" who "put this country in this situation" by voting to oust McCarthy.

Rogers, an ally of Scalise, expressed concern that the conference would never reach the necessary 217 votes to elect a new speaker without the help of Democrats.

Rogers said Democrats should make an offer about what they would want in exchange for helping Republicans.

"We're still the majority party," he said. "We’re willing to work with them, but they gotta tell us what they need."

49d ago / 6:29 PM UTC

Biggs says 'struggle session' meetings aren't working

Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., said the big meetings of all House Republicans aren't helping them reach a decision.

"This business of just having a struggle session doesn't really work," he said. "It doesn't seem to move anybody. What you got to do is, you're going to have to break it down into small groups and find out where people are, and see who moves and who doesn't move."

49d ago / 6:27 PM UTC

If you see smoke...

The House didn't seem any closer to electing a speaker after today's meeting.

“If you see smoke, it’s not a speaker, someone just set the place on fire,” said Rep. Ronny Jackson, R-Texas.

49d ago / 5:52 PM UTC

Luna reverses on support of Scalise

Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, of Florida, said yesterday that she would vote for Scalise to be speaker after holding a private meeting with him.

But today, she has reversed and will no longer be supporting him.

"I will no longer be voting for Scalise, and we NEED to stay in Washington until this is figured out," she wrote on X. "Right now there is no consensus candidate for the Speaker and I don’t think we will make it to the floor."

49d ago / 5:41 PM UTC

Jeffries: GOP needs to 'end the House Republican civil war'


Jeffries told reporters that Republicans need to “end the House Republican civil war, get their act together” as he arrived at the Capitol this morning.

“It’s time for the GOP to end the House Republican civil war, get their act together, so that we can take care of the business that the American people stand strongly for our allies throughout the world, including Israel and Ukrainian people,” he said. “Israel was attacked in the most horrific way possible. And Israel has a right to defend itself and defeat Hamas and stabilize the region permanently.”

Jeffries said House Democrats have made it clear that they are “ready, willing and able to find bipartisan common ground with colleagues on any issue,” as well as a “bipartisan path forward out of the chaos and dysfunction.”

 “And we look forward to those conversations,” he said. “But we need Republican partners in order to advance it.”

49d ago / 4:56 PM UTC

Cellphones were collected going into GOP meeting

Just like yesterday’s closed-door elections, Republicans had to check their cellphones at the door for this private meeting to limit leaks to reporters.

Staffers collected them in small cubbies that were stationed in a hallway next to the meeting room.

49d ago / 4:45 PM UTC

Chick-fil-A for lunch

The House Republicans are having Chick-fil-A for lunch.

49d ago / 4:24 PM UTC

Scalise arrives at meeting

Scalise has arrived at the meeting of House Republicans.

"It’s going to be a really good conversation with our full conference," he said as he walked in.

49d ago / 4:05 PM UTC

Self announces he will vote for Jordan in floor vote

Rep. Keith Self, R-Texas, posted on X that he plans to vote for Jordan in a floor vote for speaker. He said that he had come to this decision because "it has become evident that all the agreements and Rules with the former Speaker are null and void."

Self was a member of the group of holdouts in the nomination process for McCarthy in January. One of the rule changes the group negotiated was the change requiring only one member to bring a motion to vacate the speaker, the rule used by Gaetz last week.

49d ago / 3:17 PM UTC

Mace says she won't back Scalise

Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., who had pledged her support for Jordan as speaker, said that she won’t support Scalise’s bid.

“I personally cannot, in good conscience, vote for someone who attended a white supremacist conference and compared himself to David Duke,” she said in an interview on CNN.

Scalise, who once described himself as “David Duke without the baggage,” came under fire for his reported 2002 attendance at an event hosted by the white nationalist group European-American Unity and Rights Organization, a group founded by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.

While serving as House majority whip, Scalise said in 2014 that addressing the organization was a “mistake I regret.”

49d ago / 2:38 PM UTC

McCarthy says Scalise faces a 'big hill' to secure enough votes


McCarthy, who was recently ousted as speaker, cast doubt on Scalise's efforts to gather the votes needed to win the speakership.

“It’s possible but it’s a big hill,” McCarthy told reporters today. “He told a lot of people that he was going to be at 150 and he wasn’t there so...”

Asked if he was supporting Jordan, he said: “No, the conference makes that decision.”

49d ago / 2:33 PM UTC

What comes next after House Republicans nominated Scalise

Now that House Republicans have chosen Scalise as their speaker nominee, Rep. Patrick McHenry, who has been acting as speaker pro tempore since McCarthy was removed, can bring the vote up on the chamber floor.

It's unclear when he'll do so.

Scalise is still trying to gather the 217 GOP votes needed. Several House Republicans have said they’re not ready to get behind him and he can only afford to lose four of them.

Republicans are eager to avoid the drawn-out floor fight that happened earlier this year when it took McCarthy 15 ballots to be elected speaker.

If no candidate wins a majority, the House will continue to hold votes until one does. That has happened only 15 times in the chamber’s history, 13 of them before the Civil War.

49d ago / 2:16 PM UTC

What unfolded yesterday in the battle for speaker

House Republicans voted yesterday to nominate Scalise over Jordan to be the next speaker, but the majority leader is still clambering to find enough GOP votes to secure the chamber's top role.

In a secret ballot yesterday, Scalise defeated Jordan 113-99 to win the party's nomination. He said that if he wins in the full House vote, his first action as "Speaker Scalise" will be to pass a resolution in support of Israel.

He needs the support of 217 of the 221 Republicans in the chamber. And the House, where the GOP holds a slim majority, has paused proceedings as he doesn't yet have the votes to get to 217.

Several of Jordan's supporters in the House, including Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., said they'll still back Jordan in the floor vote. Jordan, however, has said he'll vote for Scalise, and he even offered to give a nominating speech on the floor on Scalise's behalf, according to a spokesperson for the Ohio Republican.

49d ago / 1:17 PM UTC

Santos says that he will vote for 'ANYONE but Scalise' in floor vote

Embattled New York Rep. George Santos wrote in a post on X last night that he will vote for “ANYONE but Scalise” in the floor vote and “come hell or high water I won’t change my mind.”

Santos — who is now facing an effort to expel him from Congress after a federal indictment and revelations that he fabricated much of his resume — says the decision was made because Scalise has not reached out to him during his time in office, writing, “I’ve come to the conclusion that my VOTE doesn’t matter to him.”

Santos is facing 23 criminal charges for crimes including fraud and theft. He has pleaded not guilty.

49d ago / 1:06 PM UTC

House GOP members to meet this afternoon 

House GOP lawmakers will huddle behind closed doors once again this afternoon, two members told NBC News.

The meeting will be at 12:15 p.m. amid the ongoing battle for Scalise (or anyone) to get the 217 votes needed to become speaker.

49d ago / 12:55 PM UTC

49d ago / 11:48 AM UTC

When will the House vote?

We don't know when the House will vote. The chamber could convene to hold a vote to elect a speaker today — or take days trying to wrangle the votes.

49d ago / 11:48 AM UTC
49d ago / 11:48 AM UTC

Scalise brings a fresh face but a similar policy vision as McCarthy, Republicans say

Scalise secured the Republican nomination for speaker and quickly won over some of the eight rebels who voted last week to oust McCarthy, but many GOP lawmakers say the Louisiana congressman would largely be a continuation of his predecessor.

Scalise shares McCarthy’s vision, most Republican House members say, on the policy fights such as spending and on strategy like the impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.

“The personalities involved are different,” Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Calif., said in an interview yesterday, referring to Gaetz, who led the effort to oust McCarthy and had been his chief antagonist for months.

Scalise, if elected speaker, will inherit the same narrow Republican majority that must deal with a Senate and the White House controlled by Democrats.

Read the full story here.