The fight bell is ringing in the House Republican Conference this week, as House Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana and Judiciary Committee chairman Jim Jordan of Ohio battle for the speaker’s gavel.
Scalise and Jordan are two House GOP powerhouses who are jockeying for the lower chamber’s top spot after now-former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., was ousted from the job.
The backdrop to the race became more complex over the weekend, with the Iran-backed Hamas’ deadly surprise terrorist attack and invasion of Israel.
Here is what to expect while awaiting a speaker’s vote this week.
House Republicans are expected to first meet on Monday, Columbus Day, to begin full conference discussions on the GOP nominee for the speaker’s gavel.
There will likely be sparks as the two candidates’ camps push for their guy to take the reins of the House and relieve interim Speaker Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., but full attendance is unlikely.
With Monday being a federal holiday after an eventful and historic week, the most likely attendees will be the lawmakers who are vocally behind one of the two candidates.
Tuesday is when the volleys are expected to fly as the House GOP conference meets again to continue their discussions on who to put up for the speaker’s gavel on the House floor.
House Democrats are also expected to convene on Tuesday to throw their support behind a nominee for speaker — most likely House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y.
It is incredibly unlikely that Jeffries would be elected as speaker with the House GOP majority — but the slim numbers could become a bargaining chip for lawmakers who want something from the new speaker.
The best-case scenario for House Republicans is if they are able to reach a consensus behind either Jordan or Scalise and cruise into Wednesday for a quick conference vote.
Wednesday marks the day the House Republicans are expected to vote on their nominee for speaker.
In the best-case scenario, the GOP will coalesce behind either Jordan or Scalise without many fireworks and potentially even schedule a floor vote for the new speaker that afternoon.
The worst-case scenario for the GOP is that the conference is unable to choose a candidate they want to throw their hats behind, leading to a prolonged discussion.
If there is a prolonged discussion, the earliest we could see a floor vote is Thursday morning.
Should Republicans not be able to push a floor vote for speaker on Wednesday, Thursday becomes the live option to settle the gavel battle.
The floor vote will prove to be the biggest obstacle for the GOP nominee, especially if there is disagreement in the caucus on who should be on the ballot. The nominee requires the majority of the House membership to ascend to the speakership.
Republicans can only afford to lose four votes in the proceedings — something that became a major bargaining chip in January and may become one again.
DARK HORSE MCCARTHY
Do not sleep on McCarthy in the speaker mix, either — several House Republicans are calling for the now-former top dog to resume his role after his historic ouster.
McCarthy has not ruled out retaking the gavel, either, should the conference ask him to do so.
A House Republican called for bipartisan efforts to reinstate McCarthy as House speaker amid growing concerns that a vacant speakership could result in roadblocks to aiding Israel.
“There is no greater friend of Israel than Kevin McCarthy and, in terms of American government this last year, Kevin McCarthy, the speaker of the House, has been the adult in the room. We’ve been passing the appropriations bills.,” Rep. John Duarte, R-Calif., told “FOX & Friends” Monday.
“We did pass H.R. 1 to make sure America had its own energy supply. And Kevin McCarthy has been engaged in world affairs. We need Kevin McCarthy back in the speakership right now. We need to get that vote done this week.”
The newest addition to the fray, the war between Israel and the Iran-backed Hamas, has complicated the speaker’s race.
Some Republicans have called for the House GOP conference to expedite the speaker’s vote proceedings in the wake of the war.
With Congress crippled at the moment, aid for Israel has skyrocketed into a critical position as the death toll continues to rise after the surprise terrorist attack by Hamas.
Hundreds of Israelis, both soldiers and civilians, were killed over the weekend in an unprecedented attack within the country’s borders by Hamas militants. Israel has responded with force in the Gaza Strip after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to destroy sites associated with Hamas.
It has underscored the political crisis within the House of Representatives, with Congress nearly paralyzed until the lower chamber picks a new leader. Lawmakers are navigating uncharted territory. Before last week, the U.S. Congress had never removed a House speaker.
McHenry is serving as interim speaker, but the scope of his power is still up for debate. According to several interpretations, the role serves to facilitate the election of a new speaker and nothing else.
Fox News Digital’s Elizabeth Elkind contributed to this reporting.