Lead Democrat Rep. James Clyburn Has a Name for Speaker

Top Democrat James Clyburn has floated a number of potential candidates for Speaker of the House. The assistant Democratic leader in the House, Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), shared a brief list during an appearance on MSNBC, less than a day after the chamber ousted Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) from his position as speaker.

He threw out House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA), who announced on Wednesday his intent to run for speaker following reports saying he was lobbying for support for a bid.

“There are people on both sides that could do this. I think that their leader … I know he’s having some health problems, but Steve Scalise is a great guy,” Clyburn said.

Scalise has been receiving treatment for blood cancer. Scalise told reporters that the cancer has “dropped dramatically”because of chemotherapy.

Clyburn also suggested Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), who is chairman of the House Rules Committee.

“I think that Cole would be a sort of — the kind of tone that we would like to see,” Clyburn said.

Clyburn ultimately reasoned that he will “let” Republicans “handle their business and we’re going to handle ours and hopefully they do something that will make the American people pleased with our activities here in Washington.”

He further noted that he believes the Democrats have viable candidates, too, to serve as speaker, “most especially” Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY).
The House voted 216-210 on Tuesday to remove McCarthy as speaker, a role he held since January. Eight Republicans joined with Democrats to vote against McCarthy, citing frustrations with his leadership: Matt Gaetz (FL), Andy Biggs (AZ), Ken Buck (CO), Eli Crane (AZ), Bob Good (VA), Matt Rosendale (MT), Tim Burchett (TN), and Nancy Mace (SC).
Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) became temporary speaker as lawmakers figure out who will lead. A simple majority will be needed to secure victory. The speaker does not have to be a sitting member of the House, according to the Constitution, and there has been some chatter about nominating former President Donald Trump.