COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The historic vote to oust Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House is leaving much uncertainty within and outside of the halls of Congress.
Steve Stivers, now president and CEO of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, served in Congress for nearly two decades and hopes Congressmembers can set aside their differences and pick a new Speaker fast.
“I think there’s a lot of division right now for sure,” Stivers said. “I think it’s really unfortunate when somebody gets pushed out of office that, I think, was doing a pretty good job in trying to do the right thing.”
This is the first time in the country’s history a House Speaker has been forced out, but Stivers said he was there for a similar situation in 2015 when former Speaker and Ohio Rep. John Boehner stepped down.
Stivers said he imagines the tone on the House floor is chaotic, but hopes Congress is looking toward the future.
“It would be great to see people come together on somebody that can rally America in the House of Representatives to get things done and make a difference for the American people,” Stivers said.
He said if it were him in those chairs, he would be calling up people like Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan and Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise. Both men have thrown their names into the race for Speaker. Stivers said he worked closely with both.
“I think Steve Scalise has definitely been battle tested, done a lot of stuff, understands how to bring people together,” he said. “Jim Jordan’s done a good job as judiciary chairman. That’s a relatively new post he’s had since January, never been in elected leadership. I think both of them could do the job.”
Stivers said the biggest impacts will be on expired or unpassed bills. He said when things get sorted out, he would like Congress to really focus on the economy.
“I personally think we should fund the government at some level,” Stivers said. “I’d like to see spending come down personally, again because I think we probably spend a little too much. We’ve been running deficits, but we didn’t get there overnight. We’re probably not going to solve it overnight. So, you know, assuming we can move straight to a balanced budget might be a little bit ambitious.”
In his current position with the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, he said his members care a lot about a balanced budget. So, he hopes Congress can pick a Speaker in a timely manner and get back to those conversations.