Congress and the White House

House Republicans completed their leadership elections.  With growing confidence that they have won the majority for the 118th Congress, the House Republican conference elected:

  • Speaker-Elect: Kevin McCarthy (CA) (188 votes)
  • Majority Leader: Steve Scalise (LA) (Unanimous voice vote)
  • Majority Whip: Tom Emmer (MN) (2nd ballot 115 votes)
  • Conference Chair: Elise Stefanik (NY) (144 votes)
  • NRCC Chairman: Richard Hudson (NC) (unanimous voice vote)

Speaker-Elect McCarthy now has until January 3rd to secure 218 votes on the House floor to become Speaker.  Yesterday’s vote provided b momentum and visibility into how many Members he needs to convince.  His margin of victory was in line with both Speaker Pelosi’s nomination victory in 2018 and Paul Ryan’s in 2015.  Today, House Republicans will vote on a Rules package for the 118th Congress.  House leadership is expected to accept a number of amendments from conservatives as Speaker-Elect McCarthy works to show he is listening and responding to concerns from his members.

Today, Senate Republicans will hold their leadership elections.  Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is widely expected to be re-elected.  He does, however, face a challenge from Rick Scott (R-FL).  And last night, former President Trump announced his intention to run for the Republican nomination for president in 2024.  There’s a lot going on as Republican leaders work through how the party will respond to the disappointing midterm election results.  Both the House and Senate leadership elections reflect a growing and inevitable debate within the Republican party – what role should Donald trump play in the Republican party moving forward?  It won’t get answered in November or December or any time soon.  Ultimately, Republican primary voters will decide.

The Senate will vote today on the Respect for Marriage Act.  The bill would codify the right to same-sex marriage in federal law.  The supporters of the bill believe they have the needed 60 votes in the Senate to pass the legislation.   It would then need to pass the House again, but since the House has previously passed a similar version it is likely this bill will as well and it will go to the President’s desk for signature.  This would be a significant accomplishment to kick off the Lame Duck session of Congress. 


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