The House of Representatives last week voted 216-210 to remove Rep. Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House, creating a vacancy in the top position of the chamber. House Republicans had nominated Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) as speaker in a private vote, but Scalise withdrew from the race on Thursday.

Before any bills can move forward, including funding the government for FY2024 and potentially providing aid for Israel, the House must select a new Speaker to replace McCarthy.

Scalise’s exit from the race, which he said was due to not being able to gather the 217 votes necessary to win a vote on the House floor, opens up the race to others, starting with Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH). The House Republican conference held a private vote this week on whether to nominate Rep. Scalise or Rep. Jordan, and the conference voted 113-99 in favor of Scalise. A few members voted for others or simply voted present instead of voting for Scalise or Jordan.

Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) has assumed the temporary position of Speaker Pro Tempore, a position held in secrecy unless necessary and designed to provide continuity of government during the time of transition to the next Speaker. Due to the lack of historical precedent regarding the position, there is uncertainty as to whether McHenry can exercise the powers of Speaker, foremost of which is the power to bring bills to the floor, while he serves as Speaker Pro Tem. He has not attempted to exercise such powers yet.

Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA) has filed to run for the GOP nomination for Speaker against Rep. Jordan. Republicans plan to meet for a candidate forum and hold another speaker nomination vote Friday afternoon.

In addition to electing a Speaker, the House must pass FY2024 government funding by November 17 as well as address the now-expired 2018 Farm Bill. As of now, certain commodity provisions of the farm bill including price supports run through CY2023, but if Congress does not pass at least an extension of the 2018 Farm Bill by the end of the year, certain “permanent” farm bill provisions created in 1938 and 1949 will take effect. Such provisions would be disastrous to certain industries, such as the dairy industry, so Congress must pass some sort of extension before the end of the year.

However, as of now, the House remains in limbo until a new Speaker is elected with a majority vote on the House floor.