Scalise expects to be next House Speaker, despite Trump's support for opponent

Scalise expects to be next House Speaker, despite Trump's support for opponent

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana) has tossed his hat in the ring to replace Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House

Scalise expects to be next House Speaker, despite Trump's support for opponent

A GOP House member says his party's "deep bench" will show out next week when they pick a new Speaker, get back to solving the problems facing everyday Americans – and hopefully convince the Democrat-led Senate to engage in the battle alongside them.

In the wee hours Friday morning, former President Donald Trump threw his weight behind Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan in the U.S. House Speaker's race – but that didn't faze the other frontrunner. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana) told Fox News a few hours later that he expected to be the next Speaker of the House. He also said it's time for attention to shift from Republican in-fighting to Democrat inefficiency.

Eight House Republicans, led by Matt Gaetz, joined with Democrats to oust Speaker Kevin McCarthy Tuesday to create the current leadership void. Scalise and Jordan (R-Ohio) quickly jumped into the race.

Democrats have painted a picture of chaos, but Rep. Andy Harris (R-Maryland) and Scalise say they both expect a new Speaker to be named Wednesday in keeping with the schedule set forth by interim Speaker Patrick McHenry.

Harris, Rep. Andy (R-Maryland) Harris

"We're going to resolve this next week," Harris said on Washington Watch Thursday. "We have a deep bench. That's what we've found out."

The first off the bench in Trump's eyes should be Jordan, who is the current chair of the House Judiciary Committee.

"Congressman Jim Jordan has been a STAR long before making his very successful journey to Washington," Trump wrote on Truth Social. "He will be a great Speaker of the House and has my complete and total endorsement."

Scalise said he's spoken with Trump but is unbothered to miss his backing.

"There are a lot of friendships in this race, a lot of people who have been talking to people on the outside. There's a lot of interest in this race, but at the end of the day there have been a lot of one-on-one conversations over the last few days that I've been having with my colleagues and a lot of introspection about how we get things back on track," he said.

Scalise pointed to bills on energy, the border and parents' rights as key achievements in the House and called out the Senate for not matching that productivity.

Scalise: Senate, Biden sitting on their hands

Neither the Democratic leadership in the Senate nor the White House want to engage in the fight, according to Scalise.

"As much as everyone wants to talk about the House, it's time they talk about what the Senate and the president are not doing because those problems need to be addressed by all of us," said the Louisiana Republican. "We have to get the border under control, to get spending under control, to lower costs for families. We're going to be in that fight, and I'm going to lead that fight as the next Speaker."

Scalise acknowledged the present division within the Republican Party but says that will be cleared up soon, presumably next week.

"We're going to come together as a House. They're scared to death, by the way, of us coming together as a House under my guidance as Speaker to go and get in this fight again," he described. "The country is already there – they're ready to solve these problems. They're the ones struggling every day [and] we've got to get back fighting for [them] – but the president's got to be in this fight too, and so does the Senate."

If the House had a record of productivity most of this year, it has ground to a halt with limited powers under the interim Speaker.

Harris said the absence of a Speaker will set back the work of the House two weeks at most. Meanwhile, the clock ticks on a 45-day spending agreement reached last week, the last deal under McCarthy's leadership and one that ultimately cost him his position.

"We still could have them all done by the time the continuing resolution is up on November 17th. We will probably have to cancel a week of recess in November," the GOP lawmaker predicted. "I think we should at that point, if that's what we need to do. Hopefully the Senate also takes some of these bills up on the floor. The Senate hasn't taken up a single one on the floor yet."

If the Senate acts, House can move quickly after Speaker election

Four bills already passed by the House account for 70% of the discretionary spending, according to Harris.

"If the Senate would move on a defense appropriation bill, I think we could go to conference pretty quickly [after a Speaker is elected] and at least take care of our troops, so that they're not involved in a continuing resolution if we should need one in the middle of November," Harris said.

Scalise in late August revealed concerning health news, a diagnosis of multiple myeloma, but says his treatments are going well.

If there's a major contrast between Scalise and Jordan (left), it is fund-raising – which tends to be a focus for whoever happens to be Speaker. Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy noted that Scalise has helped raise more than $170 million for Republicans, much more than the almost $40 million raised by Jordan.

Scalise acknowledged that much is expected of the House Speaker.

"Number one [is to] hold the majority, but to go and win more seats," he offered. "We need to be battling all across this country. We've got members in really tough districts that Joe Biden won but that we need to hold, and we need to grow in districts we didn't win two years ago that we can win next year.

"It takes a lot of money to do that, but it also takes a strong message too," he concluded. "It takes the ability to go out and fight and to let people know what the fight is about."

According to an Ohio activist who knows Jordan personally, the congressman didn't pursue the Speaker's position in January because of the fund-raising aspect of that role.