Amid House speaker drama, many in GOP want to do away with motion to vacate

The race is on to elect a new House speaker showdown following the historic ouster of Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday.

Two Republicans have officially thrown their hats into the ring ahead of the party hoping to choose a new leader next week.

Jeffries wishes McCarthy well after ouster

Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries released a statement Wednesday wishing McCarthy well after he voted to remove him from speakership, and encouraged Democrats to do the same.

"Since January, Kevin and I have had a respectful, communicative and forward-looking relationship," Jeffries said. "On many occasions, we strongly disagreed with each other. However, we agreed to disagree without being personally disagreeable in order to find common ground whenever possible."

Jeffries commended McCarthy's initiatives on economic competition with China and artificial intelligence, stating that work should continue.

"I wish Speaker McCarthy, his family and dedicated staff Godspeed as he begins the next chapter in his public service and professional journey," Jeffries said.

-ABC's Lauren Peller

Many House Republicans want to do away with motion to vacate

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell urged House Republicans to do away with the motion to vacate, contending it "makes the Speakers' job impossible."

Many Republicans ABC News talked to on the House side agree with him. For some, it's a major factor in who they will support for speaker.

Rep. David Joyce, R-Ohio, said he'll back "the first one who starts talking about the fact we're not going to have a stupid rule anymore that allows one person to take a speaker out. That's ridiculous."

"It absolutely has to change," he added, noting if it doesn't, the GOP could find itself right back in this same position.

Even Colorado Rep. Ken Buck, one of the eight Republicans who voted to oust McCarthy, says he's OK with changing the rule from a one-vote threshold back to a five-vote threshold to vacate.

"I'm fine with a five vote. If you can't get five Republicans to say the speaker should be vacated, then live with it. But I don't think the rules are the problem. I think the credibility of the former speaker was the real problem," he said.

-ABC's Mary Bruce

Biden expresses concern over Ukraine aid

In remarks about the speakership showdown, Biden said there is a "lot of work" to get done as Congress faces a Nov. 17 deadline to come to a funding deal or once again risk a shutdown.

"We cannot and should not again be faced with an 11th-hour decision, brinksmanship that threatens to shut down the government," Biden said.

He also expressed concern on the current state of future aid for Ukraine, admitting he's worried it may not happen.

"It does worry me," he said. "But I know there are a majority of members of the House and Senate in both parties who have said that they support funding Ukraine."

At least one lawmaker vying for speaker has long been opposed to additional Ukraine aid.

"I'm against that," Rep. Jim Jordan told reporters on Wednesday. "What I understand is at some point we're going to have to deal with this appropriation process in the right way and we're going to try to do that in the next -- what are we down to? Forty-one days. The most pressing issue on the mind of Americans is not Ukraine, it is the border situation."

-ABC's Molly Nagle, Justin Gomez and Mary Bruce

Read Scalise's letter on running for speaker

Scalise made his case for why he should be the next House speaker in a letter to colleagues on Wednesday.

In it, he called the Republican conference a "family" as he recounted the support he received when he was shot during congressional baseball practice in 2017 and suffered life-threatening injuries.

"God already gave me another chance at life," he wrote. "I believe we were all put here for a purpose. This next chapter won't be easy, but I know what it takes to fight and I am prepared for the battles that lie ahead."

Steve Scalise - Dear Colleague - October 4 2023 by ABC News Politics on Scribd