US House Majority Leader Steve Scalise enters race for Speaker after McCarthy’s removal


US House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, a Louisiana Republican, has formally entered the race for House Speaker, one day after Kevin McCarthy’s historic removal.

“We all came here to save this country from being taken down a dangerous path of destruction,” Scalise said on Wednesday in a letter to his colleagues, seeking the Republican Conference’s nomination for Speaker of the House.

McCarthy, a California Republican, was ousted from the position in a 216-210 vote on Tuesday, marking the first time in US history that a House Speaker has been voted out of office in the middle of a term. Eight Republicans joined Democrats in removing McCarthy from the Speakership, Xinhua news agency reported.

The removal came less than one day after hardline Republican Representative Matt Gaetz filed a resolution to remove McCarthy through a process known as “a motion to vacate”.

Gaetz and other hardline Republicans had warned for weeks they would move to oust McCarthy if McCarthy relied on Democrats to pass funding legislation, criticizing McCarthy for failing to pass legislation with deep spending cuts and border security provisions.

“Now, more than ever, we must mend the deep wounds that exist within our conference and focus on our objectives so we can get back to work for the millions of people who are counting on us,” Scalise added in the letter.

Scalise, 57, stressed high debt, border security, energy supply, crime, and drugs, among other problems the country current faces.

As the No. 2 leader of the House Republicans, Scalise would be seen as “a natural choice” to succeed McCarthy given his experience heading his party’s vote-counting operation as the former GOP whip and his inspiring story of surviving a mass shooting at a congressional baseball practice in 2017, NBC News reported.

Scalise announced in August that he had been diagnosed with a form of blood cancer known as multiple myeloma and was undergoing treatment. The report noted that the diagnosis raised questions about whether he could step into the rigorous job of being Speaker.

Republican Representative Patrick T. McHenry from North Carolina was named acting Speaker of the House after the ousting.

“Because the urgent challenges facing our nation will not wait,” President Joe Biden hopes the House will “quickly elect a Speaker,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.

McCarthy, who was first elected to the US House in 2006 and was elected House Speaker in January this year, has announced that he will not run for Speaker again.

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