Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are set to meet Wednesday to start closed-door, internal voting to try to agree on a nominee to be the next House speaker.

The two leading candidates, Representatives Jim Jordan and Steve Scalise, addressed members of their party at a forum late Tuesday seeking to make their case to take the job following last week’s ouster of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

McCarthy told colleagues not to nominate him to reclaim the post.

Republicans hold a slim 221-212 majority in the House, meaning they will need to unite behind a candidate in order to reach the required simple majority threshold to elect a speaker.

McCarthy needed 15 rounds of voting to win in January as Democrats fully backed their candidate, House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries, as some Republicans held out until McCarthy made certain concessions.

Among the concessions was allowing any single member to file a motion to vacate and force a vote on whether to remove the speaker.  Republican Representative Matt Gaetz filed a motion after McCarthy relied on Democratic votes to avert a government shutdown.

The speaker vacancy has brought work in the House to a halt, with a mid-November deadline pending to finish work on multiple funding bills or else again face the prospect of a government shutdown. Aid for Ukraine is also waiting for approval. 

Some information for this story came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters. 

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