Following Tuesday’s historic ouster of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Acting Speaker pro tempore Patrick McHenry (R-NC) announced that there won’t be a new speaker selected until at least early next week.
According to McHenry in the House GOP’s meeting Tuesday evening, Republicans will hold a candidate forum next Tuesday, followed by a speaker election next Wednesday. Without an elected speaker in the meantime, the House is essentially twiddling its collective thumbs until then, recessed until Tuesday and unable to move legislation.
Of course, setting next Wednesday as the date for the House to elect its next speaker does not necessarily mean there will be a new speaker gaveling the House back to work then. In January of this year, the new Congress had some trouble choosing their chamber’s leader. It ultimately took McCarthy 15 ballots across five days in order to secure the gavel.
One can hope that the process of electing a speaker will be more decisive this time around, but the antics of the previous few days combined with the history of this Congress’ troubles picking a speaker suggest the drama may continue next week, much to the giddy hopes of President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats.
Currently, there’s no clear frontrunner for the post. There’s been talk of Reps. Steve Scalise (R-LA) or Tom Emmer (R-MN) making a bid for the gavel, but there’s nothing confirmed just yet. McCarthy said he would not pursue another campaign for speaker, and his main antagonist Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said Tuesday afternoon he didn’t want the job. Rep. Troy Nehls (R-TX), however, said he’d nominate Donald Trump for speaker, but the former president has his hands full with four somewhat simultaneous court battles and being the frontrunner for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination.