AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Congress is far from functional as the GOP’s designated Speaker candidate, Steve Scalise, rescinds his bid to lead the paralyzed House of Representatives amid intraparty feuds led in part by some Texas congressmen.
“I’m not going to be with Steve on the floor,” Central Texas Republican Congressman Chip Roy said Thursday. “We need to figure out what to do. Let’s pick the right speaker, let’s unite, and let’s move forward.”
Roy is calling for stronger assurances regarding federal spending cuts, border security legislation, and safeguards placed on aid to Israel.
Victoria-area Congressman Michael Cloud is also opposing Scalise.
Other Texans, however, are calling on the House to swiftly approve Scalise as Speaker to address urgent issues like aid to Israel and border security legislation.
“We need to immediately come to the floor, vote in a speaker, because the world is on fire,” South Texas Congressman Tony Gonzales said. “You see what’s happening in Israel. You see the terrorism that Hamas has caused around the globe. But you also see the border here in Texas completely on fire, and we need to be able to secure that border. Steve Scalise is exactly the speaker we need in order to do that.”
Gonzales was an early supporter of Scalise for speaker, arguing he would be the most effective leader to pass border security measures. He pointed to Scalise’s experience as House majority leader in an interview with Nexstar.
“He knows exactly how to get to 218 and get a bill passed. One of our bills that we passed this year, HR 2, which addresses border security — Steve Scalise led that effort,” Rep. Gonzales said. “So it shows he’s already committed to it. He’s going to ensure that House Republicans have a seat at the table when we push to get border security in any kind of spending package. These are the type of real leaders that we need that steady and that statesman that can deliver real wins a district like mine.”
Scalise has also secured support from the majority of the Texas Republican delegation, including Ronny Jackson, Jodey Arrington, Troy Nehls, Pat Fallon, Lance Gooden, and Michael Burgess.
So far, however, Scalise is far from the 217 votes he needs to secure the gavel. Rep. Roy is still holding out, arguing a fresh face on the dais will change House tradition and better cater to his faction of the party.
“The question here is are we going to change the direction of this town?” Roy told reporters in Washington on Thursday. “That’s the question. Are we going to change the direction of the town?”