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Calls to empower Patrick McHenry as Republicans again fail to select Speaker

Growing opposition to Rep. Jim Jordan's bid for Speaker of the House has sparked calls to empower Rep. Patrick McHenry with new powers to get the House operational again. McHenry, who currently oversees the chamber as Speaker Pro Tempore, would be faced with challenges such as government spending fights and ongoing cryptocurrency efforts. The idea has gained support from prominent conservative figures, including three former GOP House speakers, and Democrats have also expressed support for expanding McHenry's authorities. However, the proposal faces challenges from Jordan and his allies, and the extent and duration of McHenry's powers are still up for debate.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) faced another defeat in his bid for the speaker's position, as even more of his fellow Republicans voted against him today compared to yesterday. This ongoing opposition to Jordan's hardline candidacy has prompted discussions about a potential stopgap solution to restore functionality in the House.

Both Democrats and Republicans have recently proposed empowering Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) with expanded powers. Currently, McHenry serves as Speaker Pro Tempore but operates with limited authority.

By increasing McHenry's powers, it is hoped that some concerns about the dysfunction in Capitol Hill, particularly from Wall Street and the business world, can be temporarily alleviated. McHenry played a crucial role in negotiating the debt-ceiling deal earlier this year, which helped avert a financial crisis. He would face similar challenges in the coming weeks, as House Republicans clash with the Senate and the White House over government spending.

If McHenry's powers are expanded, he could potentially advance business world priorities, including ongoing efforts related to cryptocurrencies. As the chair of the House Financial Services Committee, McHenry has been a strong advocate for two cryptocurrency bills focused on market structure and stablecoins.

Although McHenry himself has downplayed the idea, prominent conservative figures and organizations, including former GOP House speakers Newt Gingrich, John Boehner, and Paul Ryan, have expressed support for empowering McHenry.

Democrats have also embraced the idea, with moderate lawmakers calling for an immediate vote to expand the Speaker Pro Tempore's authorities. House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries has mentioned ongoing discussions for bipartisan compromises.

However, empowering McHenry will face significant challenges, particularly from Jordan and his allies, who continue to fight despite their losses in previous rounds of voting. Gaining support from both Democrats and Republicans will be crucial, and there may be opposition from far-right individuals such as Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.).

The extent and duration of McHenry's powers will also be points of contention. Details such as the timeframe of empowerment and the specific issues he can address are still up for debate. Additionally, there is uncertainty regarding whether an empowered Speaker Pro Tempore would be included in the presidential line of succession.

McHenry himself remains a wildcard in this situation. While he is a close ally of Kevin McCarthy, who appointed him to his current position, McHenry has resisted calls to join the House Leadership permanently, preferring to serve as chair of the Financial Services Committee.

In conclusion, the idea of empowering Rep. Patrick McHenry with expanded powers as Speaker Pro Tempore has gained traction among both Democrats and Republicans. While it faces challenges and uncertainties, it offers a potential solution to the ongoing deadlock in the House and could address pressing issues in the business and financial sectors.

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