Oct 5, 2023 - Politics & Policy

House GOP quietly panics over how to escape its self-inflicted mess

Capitol Police stand outside the speaker's office after the House voted to remove Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)from his post. Photo: Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post via Getty Images

Expectations are at rock-bottom among House Republicans that their civil war will be resolved by the speaker vote on Wednesday, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: There are way too many potential blowup points for this leadership vacuum to be easily resolved, thanks to a rump caucus of Republicans who proved they'll break with the overwhelming majority of their colleagues.

  • Some moderates are threatening to tank any speaker if the rules aren't changed to protect future speakers from single-member motions to vacate. That's a deal breaker for conservatives.
  • Some conservatives are threatening to tank any speaker who'd support aid for Ukraine, or who wouldn't push along an impeachment vote on President Biden. That's a deal breaker for some moderates.
  • And some Republicans just have old scores to settle.

Zoom in: The likely field solidified on Wednesday, with Majority Leader Steve Scalise and Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan confirming their candidacies.

  • Republican Study Committee Chair Kevin Hern, a key conservative leader, is also expected to throw his hat in the ring.
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