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House Republicans nominate a new speaker


A majority of House Republicans nominated a new speaker today. But plenty of party division remains. The closed-door tally was 113 to 99 for House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, who beat out Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan. Here's Scalise.


STEVE SCALISE: I want to thank my House Republican colleagues for just designating me as the speaker. Obviously, we still have work to do. We're going to have to go upstairs on the House floor and resolve this and then get the House opened again.

KELLY: But for hours today, Republicans have gone back and forth on when they will be ready to go upstairs and take that speaker vote to the House floor. NPR congressional correspondent Claudia Grisales has been following all of this. Hey, there.


KELLY: So I know you were there as Republicans took this vote. They were behind closed doors today. They nominated a new speaker. What did they say when they finally open those doors and left the meeting?

GRISALES: Right. It was quite the rush. Republicans left the meeting still pretty divided. Some were ready for Scalise to take over as speaker and turn the page on this tumultuous chapter for their conference. For example, I talked to Tim Burchett of Tennessee. He was one of those who voted to oust former Speaker Kevin McCarthy. He voted for Scalise. But at the same time, he's unclear when the conference would get on the same page. And some who supported Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, such as freshman Republican Max Miller of Ohio, were visibly upset after the results, saying they would continue to vote for Jordan. And then we saw other members such as Chip Roy of Texas post on social media their frustration that the conference would try to rush this to the floor with the vote as close as it was.

KELLY: What about Jim Jordan himself? Has he conceded?

GRISALES: Well, my colleague Deirdre Walsh reports that after the meeting, he said he plans to vote for Scalise on the floor of the House, and he's encouraging his colleagues to do the same. But it was clear from a new flurry of closed-door meetings with House Republicans today that followed this nomination that there's still a lot of work to do to convince Jordan's supporters to vote for Scalise instead.

KELLY: So I'm just trying to keep up here. There is still a possibility that they will vote on the House floor today.

GRISALES: No, it looks like that vote is not happening tonight. The House did indeed adjourn this evening without taking that vote. The hope is they'll be able to come back tomorrow and try again, but there's no guarantees. And it's a reminder how incredibly fluid this moment is and that many members, for now, are hoping not to relive the process we saw in January when it took McCarthy 15 rounds to get picked as speaker.

KELLY: All right. Well, tell us more about the man of the hour - this hour, at least - Steve Scalise. Who is he?


GRISALES: Right. This hour, right. He is the second-ranking Republican in the House. He's well-liked. He's also faced a series of personal challenges. For example, he was injured in the 2017 mass shooting during a House Republican baseball team practice in Alexandria, Va. He's undergone multiple surgeries. And you could see him for some time using a cane to get around. Now he's battling a blood cancer known as multiple myeloma. And in terms of his ideological spectrum, he's more to the right of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. And he's faced his share of controversies - for example, voting against certifying the results of the 2020 election.

KELLY: And just briefly, if he does prevail, I guess he's staring down a government shutdown for November.

GRISALES: That is a top challenge. And he also says another first order of business is to pass a resolution to make clear that the House stands with Israel.

KELLY: NPR's Claudia Grisales. Thank you.

GRISALES: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Claudia Grisales is a congressional reporter assigned to NPR's Washington Desk.