Scalise undergoes planned surgery amid Speaker’s race

Scalise undergoes planned surgery amid Speaker’s race
© Greg Nash

Ten months after he was nearly killed by a gunman at a congressional baseball practice, House Majority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseWhy the rush to condemn a carbon tax? House backs resolution expressing support for ICE House GOP reverses, cancels vote on Dem bill to abolish ICE MORE (R-La.) is undergoing a planned surgical procedure on Monday morning.

“At a Conference meeting earlier this year, I mentioned that I would have to have one more planned procedure in the spring as part of my ongoing recovery. I’m writing to let you know I will undergo that follow-up procedure this morning,” Scalise wrote to his whip team. “I’m blessed to have made tremendous progress in my healing, and am grateful for your continued support."

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The surgery comes amid a leadership race to replace Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanWhy the rush to condemn a carbon tax? House votes to go to conference on farm bill House backs resolution expressing support for ICE MORE (R-Wis.), who last week announced he is not seeking reelection for another term. Ryan has endorsed the No. 2 GOP House leader, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyHouse backs resolution expressing support for ICE House GOP reverses, cancels vote on Dem bill to abolish ICE Pelosi: 'The Russians have something on the president' MORE (R-Calif.), to succeed him, and Scalise has said he won't run against McCarthy. 

But Scalise allies want the GOP whip to be in a strong position to jump into the race should McCarthy falter, like he did in his 2015 quest for the Speaker’s gavel.

Some GOP lawmakers, however, have quietly whispered their concerns over whether Scalise would be up to the task. He’s undergone several surgeries, though he’s no longer relying on a motorized scooter to get around the Capitol.

And during the recent two-week Easter recess, Scalise embarked on a rigorous travel schedule, hosting GOP colleagues on a tour of an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico where he climbed hundreds of stairs. He then led a congressional delegation to Europe and Northern Africa.

“Rest assured that I plan to be fully engaged in my work as I recover from this surgery, and I am eager to be back at the Capitol as soon as my doctors say I’m able," Scalise added in his letter Monday. "Thank you for keeping me in your prayers, and don’t hesitate to reach out to me or my office if there is anything you need.”

--This report was updated at 1:51 p.m.