Health Concerns Cloud Scalise’s Efforts to Ascend Speakership

Steve Scalise

Multiple House Republicans are concerned about House Majority Leader Steve Scalise’s (R-LA) health status while he runs for Speaker, while Scalise’s team contends he is more than ready to meet the challenges of being the leader of the House.

Scalise announced on Wednesday his bid for Speaker of the House, writing that he feels a “strong sense of responsibility and purpose” to seek the nomination.

While Scalise hopes to secure a majority to become the Speaker, he is receiving treatment for a form of blood cancer known as multiple myeloma.

There is, however, a sense that his health status may hamper his abilities to carry out the arduous duties of being the leader of the House, especially while Republicans have a razor-thin majority.

Conversations with multiple House Republicans are ongoing, Breitbart News has confirmed, about whether Scalise can handle the job duties of Speaker given his health concerns since his cancer diagnosis.

A spokesperson for Scalise said that he is more than ready to bear the burden of leading the House.

“No one fights like Leader Scalise and he’s been through worse. His doctors have said he is more than healthy enough for this challenge,” the spokesperson said.

The Scalise spokesperson said that the Louisiana Republican was supposed to undergo six months of chemotherapy but his treatment has been shortened to just two months based on how well he has responded to it. The House majority leader has been through one month of treatment.

Scalise sustained serious injuries after being shot at a Republican baseball game in 2017. However, he was able to make a strong recovery from the injuries.

The Louisiana conservative previously served as the Republican Whip for nearly a decade and also served as the chairman of the Republican Study Committee (RSC), the largest caucus of conservatives in the House Republican Conference.

In his Dear Colleague letter to this fellow lawmakers, he personally credited fellow Republicans for saving his life:

I firmly believe this Conference is a family. When I was shot in 2017, it was Members of this Conference who saved my life on that field. When I made it to the hospital and my family was told my chances of surviving were low, it was the prayers from all of you that carried us through. When I was in the hospital for nearly 15 weeks, it was the possibility of getting back to work with all of you that kept me motivated to get better. During that time, I was often asked why after nearly losing my life because of this job I would want to go back. But it was never a question for me: I love this country, and I believe we were sent here to come together and solve the immense challenges we face. As I face new challenges, I feel even more strongly about that today. I know the coming weeks ahead will be some of the most arduous times we will face together, but this Conference is worth fighting for – we cannot lose sight of our shared mission. Now, more than ever, we must mend the deep wounds that exist within our Conference and focus on our objectives so we can get back to work for the millions of people who are counting on us. [Emphasis added]

Now, he says there is more work to be done. He argued that the House needs to conduct its “critical oversight” of a “corrupt administration,” and that Republicans must pass all 12 appropriations bills to negotiate with the Senate with the “strongest hand possible.”

He wrote, “While we need to be realistic about what can be achieved, if we stay united, we can preserve leverage for the House to secure tangible wins in our impending policy fights.”

Scalise remarked, “The task before us is not without its challenges, but I believe in this Conference and our ability to come together and achieve great things.”

Sean Moran is a policy reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.


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