The GOP House Speaker Forum: What You Need to Know Ahead of Time

The GOP is preparing for a forum where candidates will present their final arguments in the race for the position of Speaker in the Republican-controlled House. The event will begin at 5 p.m., Eastern Standard Time. The details were announced by Elise Stefanik, the Republican Conference Chairwoman in the House, who represents New York. She mentioned that each candidate will be given 5 minutes for their opening remarks, followed by a Q&A session with members, and will conclude with a 2-minute closing statement. Stefanik expressed her anticipation by saying:
“I look forward to hosting a productive session to ensure we focus on delivering for the American people.”

Following this forum, an internal party leadership election is slated for Wednesday. To secure the party’s nomination, a candidate would need a simple majority in the conference, which is reportedly 111 votes. The final decision on the Speaker will be made through a full House floor vote, where, again, a simple majority is required. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) is acting as the speaker pro tempore in the interim.

The Democrats are likely to support Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY). On the Republican side, after the removal of Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as Speaker, two GOP members have announced their candidacies: House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. Both candidates have shared their visions for the House and have emphasized the importance of unity within the Republican party. Some members have publicly supported Scalise or Jordan, while many have yet to declare their preference.

Former President Donald Trump, who endorsed Jordan, was considering attending the forum but is now unlikely to do so. Some House members have even suggested Trump as a potential speaker, given that the Constitution doesn’t prohibit non-House members from holding the title. However, Trump seems more focused on his 2024 presidential campaign.

Rep. Kevin Hern (R-OK) decided not to join the race for Speaker, expressing concerns about further divisions in a three-person race. There’s also speculation about McCarthy’s potential return, despite his previous statement of not running for Speaker again. Rep. Carlos Gimenez (R-FL) has urged McCarthy to reconsider his decision. McCarthy himself has backpedaled on the issue after the attack on Israel.

Amidst these developments, there’s a discussion about possibly reforming or abolishing the “motion to vacate” rule. This rule was recently used by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) to initiate a no-confidence vote against McCarthy. Although a majority of GOP members supported McCarthy, eight Republicans, along with Democrats, voted him out due to concerns about his leadership. The Republican Main Street Caucus criticized the rule, stating that it gives too much power to a single individual, and called on speaker candidates to ensure such an incident doesn’t recur.