BRIEF SUMMARY IF YOU’RE BUSY, FULL ARTICLE BELOW: Following Rep. Steve Scalise’s withdrawal from the Speaker race, Rep. Jim Jordan is tasked with uniting the GOP conference, which has been divided since Kevin McCarthy’s ouster. Despite concerns about the vote tally, Rep. Brian Mast assures that Jordan will have the votes, signaling confidence in his ability to secure the position. The all-conference meeting saw no further deliberations, and Mast emphasized that the process would unfold publicly. Meanwhile, some members expressed worry about a prolonged speakership fight giving Democrats an opportunity. The urgency of the situation is heightened by the ongoing Middle East conflict and the looming possibility of a government shutdown. Amid rumors of bipartisan arrangements, Rep. Nicole Malliotakis dismissed the idea, blaming Democrats for siding with the “right-wing fringe” in ousting McCarthy. A floor vote on the Speaker is expected on Monday.
Scott called for unity when speaking with reporters following his loss to Jordan, saying he would whip up support for an eventual floor vote.
Now, the founding member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus has the unenviable task of bringing together a conference torn apart by ill-feeling and backbiting since McCarthy became the first speaker to be voted out by his colleagues Oct. 3.
But Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.) assured The Post that the speaker nominee would have the votes.
“That’s part of the reason that reps are going home. Jim has people to speak to, he knows who he has to speak to, he’s going to work through that,” Mast said.
He added that there would be no further conference deliberations and all the kinks would have to be worked out in public.
“It’s always possible that somebody throws out another name — Newt Gingrich, Donald Trump, or whatever it is they say — but I do not anticipate another candidate forum or speaker’s race going on behind closed doors,” Mast said.
“Daddy was an old World War II marine, and he would talk about sometimes coming off that landing craft,” Rep Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) mused. “The guy up front would get it, second guy might get wounded, and generally the third guy would get on the beach.”
Still other members expressed concern about the vote tally.
“I thought it would be higher,” Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) told reporters, noting Jordan’s failure to unite more of the conference. “Personally, I think we should stay and finish this, but it’s up to him.”
Asked whether speaker pro tem Patrick McHenry (R-NC) would need to step in to resolve issues in the interim, Donalds added: “We’re not going to be doing any type of coalition governments around here. We are not the European Parliament. We are the United States.”
Friday’s all-conference meeting, the third in 24 hours, was called after Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) withdrew as speaker-designate Thursday evening, telling reporters it was obvious he did not have the support among his colleagues to attain the gavel.
Jordan, who Scalise defeated 113-99 in initial balloting Wednesday, had promised to back the Louisianan on the House floor.
Current and former GOP House members in leadership were united but took no questions from the press following the vote, with Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY) being the first to publicly congratulate the Ohio Republican on his nomination.
McCarthy appeared optimistic before heading into the vote, telling reporters he would support Jordan but that the Judiciary chairman should “be prepared for the process to be speaker,” hinting at a repeat of his own 15-round fight on the House floor in January to win votes.
He also took some shots again at Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who led the effort to oust him last week, saying, “I don’t think it’s right that every Democrat voted to create chaos and 4% of Republicans joined with them.”
At one point in the deliberations, Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) moved to renominate McCarthy, which received “overwhelming support” from conference members before the former speaker asked them to refrain from placing his name on the ballot, a House GOP aide told The Post.
The enjoinder didn’t stop McCarthy loyalists like Rep. Carlos Gimenez (R-Fla.) from posting on X after the meeting that he was “still OK. Only Kevin — he should have never been removed to begin with.”
“As a firefighter, I can tell you there was no white smoke today,” Gimenez said. “Our Congress is still without a Speaker of the House, because 8 Republicans joined all the Democrats to plunge our nation into chaos.”
Several members also began to voice concerns that the longer a speakership fight is drawn out, the more opportunity it would give House Democrats to capitalize on the disorder of the GOP caucus.
“These guys want to be in the minority,” Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.), who serves in a vulnerable GOP district, told CNN of his fellow lawmakers. “I think they would prefer that because they could just vote ‘no’ and yell and scream all the time. But governing you got to work together.”
However, a handful of holdouts — some professing loyalty to McCarthy, others ardently backing Scalise — made it clear that they would not be brought around.
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) backed Scalise for the speaker nomination the day before — and told reporters that Jordan would not have his vote on the House floor.
“We’re going to have to find somebody who can truly unify us, truly lead us,” Diaz-Balart said.
The House can perform no other business until a speaker is elected, making a floor vote an urgent issue following the outbreak of war in the Middle East and the prospect of a partial government shutdown Nov. 17.
Throughout the day Friday, rumors swirled on Capitol Hill that a handful of House Republicans might reach some kind of arrangement with Democrats to choose a speaker palatable to both parties.
But Brooklyn and Staten Island Rep. Nicole Malliotakis scoffed at that idea, calling it “ridiculous.”
“The time to be bipartisan was last week,” she told reporters. “This should have never occurred … If the Democrats cared about this institution, they would have never sided with the right-wing fringe to take out our speaker and bring Congress to a halt. So they are just as complicit as those eight Republicans that decided to overthrow the will of 97% of the conference.
“So if they wanted to be bipartisan, that time has already come and gone.”
A lone Democrat who paused to speak with reporters criticized the notion, saying bipartisan House votes were in the offing no matter what.
“That’s ultimately about where we’re going to be after spinning our wheels for two weeks, or three, or four,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), the co-chair of the Congressional Bike Caucus.
“It’s not our fault the Republicans can’t even agree with themselves, and ultimately they’re going to work with us on a bipartisan solution,” he added, pointing to the debt ceiling negotiations earlier this year. “You can write that script now, just fill in a few numbers later.”
Jordan also prevailed in a second vote to determine who would support him from the House floor, Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) told The Post when exiting the meeting, with a slightly higher 152-55 tally for the Judiciary chairman.
No speakership votes are expected on the House floor until Monday.
Article found at the NEW YORK POST.