Washington – U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, of Jefferson, said Friday morning that he wants to see Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., elected as the next speaker of the House.
That would preclude a run for the speakership by Scalise himself — at least until Ryan decides whether he will seek the job. So far, Ryan has said he won’t, but he is under increasing pressure from the fractured Republican majority to make a run.
The Republicans were thrown into disarray Thursday by the unexpected decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, of California, to withdraw from the campaign to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner, of Ohio. McCarthy was considered the prohibitive favorite to get the endorsement of the Republican Conference, the collective organization of the House Republicans. But dissension in the ranks clouded his ability to win a vote in the full House, the hurdle that must be cleared by the speaker, a constitutional position.
In anticipation of McCarthy’s ascension from the No. 2 leadership job of majority leader to the speaker’s chair, Scalise — now No. 3 in the majority hierarchy, as whip — declared he would run to succeed McCarthy. He told his supporters early this week that he had the majority support in the Republican conference needed to win — but McCarthy’s bombshell means there is no longer a vacancy to fill, as McCarthy has said he will remain majority leader.
Scalise, 50, who was elected to Congress in 2008 and chosen whip last year, has been considered a potential candidate for speaker. But Ryan, who was the 2012 Republican vice presidential candidate, appears to be the consensus choice.
Ryan, chairman of the Ways & Means Committee, has indicated he will consider making the run for speaker.