Buchanan, Steube Split on Next Speaker

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The lawmakers representing the Sarasota-Manatee area in Congress are split about who should be the next Speaker of the House. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, endorsed Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-Louisiana, for the job. But Rep. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, backs House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio.

Both look for the best path forward months after both firmly supported former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-California. But the House remains in turmoil after McCarthy’s historic ouster days after passing a budget deal relying on the support of House Democrats. Shortly after a budget vote that staved off a government shutdown until at least mid-November, eight Republicans led by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, were joined by all House Democrats in voting to vacate the Speaker’s Office, effectively firing McCarthy from the role.

Now, Buchanan wants the second highest ranking member of the House elevated to Speaker. He has been a close ally to Scalise for years. 

“Steve Scalise is a proven leader and a battle-tested fighter,” Buchanan said. “He is exactly the right man to lead our country forward with his conservative, optimistic vision for the future as Republicans work to secure the border, restore fiscal sanity to Washington and get our country back on track. I am pleased to call Steve a true friend and know he will make us proud as the next Speaker of the House.”

Of note, after Buchanan sided with McCarthy in the Speaker race, he lost a close race to chair the House Ways and Means Committee to close McCarthy ally Rep. Jason Smith, R-Missouri. While it appears unlikely any chairmanships will change in this Congress, a Scalise speakership could mean Buchanan has a stronger chance at the committee gavel next year if Republicans can maintain a majority.

Steube, though, has pushed for the caucus to move in a different direction. The three-term representative initially pushed for another historic move  by endorsing former President Donald Trump for Speaker. House rules allow for representatives to name a Speaker from outside their membership, although over 55 Speaker races since the dawn of the nation, only elected members of Congress have ever held the job. Steube initially suggested Trump, the leading Republican candidate for President in 2024, would be able to bring the caucus together during a chaotic time.

But when Trump last week issued his own endorsement of Jordan, Steube followed suit. Jordan leads the select House Weaponization of Government Committee, on which Steube sits, and the House Judiciary Committee, where Steube served in prior years.

“I encouraged Donald Trump to run for Speaker because he could unite the Republican conference in historic ways. But I have full confidence in President Trump’s pick for our Speaker: Jim Jordan,” Steube posted on social media platform X. “We must unite around Chairman Jordan, who has led the charge in the Weaponization Committee’s and House Judiciary Committee’s critical work to protect our freedoms. Jim is a great patriot who can get the job done! He holds the respect of so many in our conference and I trust him to lead!”

Steube and Buchanan both endorsed Trump for President next year over other Republicans in the field, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The GOP Conference plans to meet Tuesday on the leadership race, with ballots for Speaker likely happening the following day. 

 

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