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House GOP votes to select speaker nominee for the third time

House Majority Whip Tom Emmer, a Republican from Minnesota, speaks to members of the media following a House Republican caucus meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, US, on Monday, Oct. 23, 2023.

Al Drago | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Republican lawmakers on Tuesday will vote to select their nominee for speaker of the House of Representatives, the third time they have met to choose a candidate after the previous two nominees failed to secure enough votes.

The House GOP will hold an closed-door vote at 9 a.m. ET. Interim Speaker Patrick McHenry has said the nominee could face a vote before the House as soon as Tuesday. Originally, there were nine candidates, but Rep. Gary Palmer of Alabama dropped out Tuesday morning, and Rep. Dan Meuser of Pennsylvania left the race Monday evening.

It is unclear if any of the candidates can secure the 217 Republican votes needed on the House floor. The nominee can only afford to lose four GOP votes, as Democrats have lined up in lockstep behind their nominee, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York..

GOP House speaker candidates

  • Rep. Jack Bergman of Michigan 
  • Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida 
  • Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota
  • Rep. Kevin Hern of Oklahoma 
  • Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana  
  • Rep. Austin Scott of Georgia 
  • Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas

The House has been leaderless for three weeks now, which has left Congress paralyzed and unable to move forward with spending legislation as Nov. 17 deadline looms to avoid a government shutdown. Congress is also unable to respond to President Joe Biden’s call for emergency security assistance for Israel and Ukraine until the House elects a speaker.

Rep. Tom Emmer, the Republican majority whip, has the backing for former Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

“He sets himself head and shoulders above all those others who want to run,” McCarthy said of Emmer in an interview with NBC News on Sunday. “We need to get him elected this week and move on and bring this not just party together but focus on what this country needs most.”

Emmer also spoke by phone with former Donald Trump on Monday, though the former president has not endorsed the majority whip.

“I’m sort of trying to stay out of that as much as possible, but they’ll get it straightened out,” Trump told reporters on Monday.

Only two of the seven candidates, Emmer and Rep. Austin Scott of Georgia, voted to certify President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory.

Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio was forced to abandon his bid on Friday after his nomination failed in three separate votes. House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, the original nominee, had to abandon his bid before even facing the House floor after it became clear he did not have the votes.

The House leadership crisis was triggered by a faction of eight Republicans, led by Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, who ousted McCarthy in a historically unprecedented no-confidence vote. Democrats refused to save McCarthy’s speakership, leading to the California Republican’s downfall.

–CNBC’s Emily Wilkins contributed to this report.

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