In early October, House Republicans shocked the nation when they voted to vacate the Speakership of the House of Representatives, the chamber’s highest leadership position. With Speaker Paul Ryan’s departure, Republicans have begun the process of choosing a new Speaker.
The process of selecting a Speaker requires a “Super Majority” from the House of Representatives. A Super Majority consists of 218 votes from the member of the House of Representatives. To choose a new Speaker, a candidate needs to receive a vote from a majority of the total membership of the house. Currently, the number of Republican members of the House stands are 235, meaning they need at least 118 Republican votes for a Super Majority.
Before a new Speaker may be elected, the Republican members of the House of Representatives must nominate a candidate. This process begins with a Caucus, which includes all Republican members of the House. They will then collectively decide on a candidate. If the candidate is unable to secure a Super Majority in the entire House, the Republican Caucus will need to nominate another candidate.
To be elected Speaker, a candidate must then secure the support of the Democratic members of the House. If the Republican Caucus can find a candidate to bridge the ideological divides within Congress, their candidate could win the majority of votes from the Democratic Caucus. As the 115th Congress comes to a close, the focus has shifted to the election of the new Speaker of the House.
House Republicans have the difficult task ahead of them of finding a candidate who can unite the disparate factions within the House. If they can find a common ground with the Democrats, then they can secure the Super Majority needed for a successful election. By bridging the divide, House Republicans will have the ability to elect a strong Speaker of the House to lead Congress into the future.