GOP Jim Jordan fails on vote for House speaker as frustrated Republicans search for options
Firebrand Republican Rep. Jim Jordan loses support from more GOP colleagues as he fails to become House speaker.
In a surprising turn of events, Republican Rep. Jim Jordan failed to secure enough support to become the House speaker on the crucial second ballot. Despite losing even more support from his GOP colleagues, Jordan has shown no signs of dropping out. This has left the next steps highly uncertain, with frustrated Republicans exploring other options.
One extraordinary plan being floated by a bipartisan group of lawmakers is to give interim speaker pro tempore, Rep. Patrick McHenry, more power to reopen the immobilized House and conduct routine business temporarily. However, the feasibility of this plan remains doubtful at the moment.
What is clear is that Jordan's path to becoming House speaker has almost certainly been lost. He faced opposition from 22 Republicans, two more than in the first-round voting. Many view Jordan as too extreme for such a central position of power in the U.S., and they are resentful of the aggressive tactics employed by his allies to secure votes. Some lawmakers have even received death threats.
Despite the setback, Jordan remains determined and stated that he will continue talking to members and working on his campaign. The House remains at a standstill, with 15 days having passed since the sudden ousting of Kevin McCarthy as speaker.
The vote for House speaker, once a formality in Congress, has now devolved into a bitter GOP showdown with no end in sight. Jordan is refusing to step aside, and no other politically viable candidate has emerged to unite the fractured Republican majority.
As Republicans retreat for private conversations, the Capitol has been flooded with demonstrators protesting the Israel-Hamas war. This serves as a stark reminder of the concern over having the House adrift while political challenges intensify both at home and abroad.
Some Republicans are urging Jordan to withdraw his name from consideration, believing that it is the only way to resolve the impasse. After Wednesday's vote, McCarthy and other party leaders appeared to tentatively rally around Jordan, giving him the time he demanded. However, it is unlikely that he will be able to secure the necessary votes. No further action has been scheduled, resulting in another lost day for the House.
In order to win, Jordan must gain the support of most of his GOP opponents. The latest tally showed 199 Republicans voting for Jordan and 212 for Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York, leaving no candidate with a clear majority.
During the roll call, Jordan lost more supporters than he gained, further alienating some Republicans who were already upset by the tactics employed by his backers. These tactics had forced Majority Leader Steve Scalise to drop his own bid for speaker, leading to a fractured majority.
Bipartisan groups of lawmakers have proposed granting McHenry or another temporary speaker greater powers to operate the House. This idea has gained favor among high-profile Republicans such as former GOP speakers Newt Gingrich and John Boehner. However, McHenry seems reluctant to take on additional powers, stating that Jordan has the support of the conference to continue his campaign.
The Republican civil war shows no signs of abating, and all options are being considered to end the impasse. Meanwhile, Jordan's refusal to concede only deepens the divisions within the party.
The holdouts who rejected Jordan's nomination are a diverse group of Republicans, ranging from seasoned legislators to newer lawmakers from districts where voters prefer Biden to Trump. They have cast their ballots for McCarthy, Scalise, and others, with one even voting for the retired Boehner.
Jordan has been a staunch ally of Trump, particularly during the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. However, his reputation as a chaos agent rather than a skilled legislator has raised questions about his ability to lead. Congress is facing significant challenges, including the risk of a federal shutdown if it fails to fund the government and the need to address Biden's requests for aid to Ukraine and Israel.
Overall, the future of the House speaker position remains uncertain, with no clear resolution in sight. The ongoing infighting within the Republican Party is causing further divisions and hindering progress on important legislative matters.