Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, missed the threshold of 217 votes for the second time in two days, severely hurting his hopes of becoming speaker and receiving support from Donald Trump.
One net vote less than he received on Tuesday, Jordan, the GOP’s most recent candidate for speaker, received 199 votes, showing that he is losing rather than gaining support. He received one additional vote that was initially absent, gained one more vote than on the first ballot, and lost four votes overall.
The reversal suggests Jordan’s chances of getting the job are in jeopardy, extending an unprecedented period of instability for the Republican-controlled House, which lacks a clear path to electing a new leader.
Many lawmakers are eager to get to work on government funding legislation ahead of a Nov. 17 deadline to avert a shutdown, but the chamber cannot conduct business until it elects a new leader. Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Calif., a Jordan backer who represents a swing district, said the dynamics needed to change and proposed that fractured Republicans hold a retreat outside of the Beltway, far from lobbyists and the glare of the media.
It sounds silly, but let’s go to Gettysburg or something. Let’s go somewhere that is meaningful to our nation’s history so that the Republican Party can once again remember why we do what we do.Garcia said after the vote
Somewhere, “to remind us of why we fight these fights and why we are actually in this job, And that’s to make sure that the country endures and that we get stronger and not weaker.”
The vote count brought up new concerns about whether the influential chairman of the Judiciary Committee might withdraw from the race and other speaker candidates might come in, even as Jordan vowed to continue fighting with further ballots until he was elected speaker.
Reps. Vern Buchanan of Florida, Drew Ferguson of Georgia, Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Iowa, and Pete Stauber of Minnesota were the four lawmakers who initially supported Jordan but changed their votes on Wednesday. Representatives Doug LaMalfa of California and Victoria Spartz of Indiana were the two who changed their votes in favor of Jordan. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., was missing on Tuesday, so he added one vote for him.
The absence of a speaker in the House now extends until Wednesday. A new government shutdown danger is now less than a month away, and lawmakers are getting more concerned that they won’t be able to send new aid packages to Israel and Ukraine amid their hostilities.
Representatives from swing districts like Lori Chavez-DeRemer, R-Ore., and Mike Lawler, R-N.Y., as well as senior lawmakers on the influential Appropriations Committee like Chair Kay Granger, R-Texas, and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., are among Jordan’s defectors on both ballots.
Jordan was proposed on Wednesday by Rep. Tom Cole, R-Oklahoma, who also cited his opposition to the removal of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy two weeks prior.
“The last two weeks have vindicated that observation. But we have a chance today to end that chaos and that uncertainty,” he said, stressing that Jordan has a “spine” in “great abundance.”
The instability and uncertainty have generated rising speculation of a fallback solution: enabling Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., the acting speaker, to temporarily conduct business for the House.
Rep. David Joyce, R-Ohio, who left the floor on Wednesday and claimed to have “20 versions” of the resolution, has been promoting the concept for days. In order to grant McHenry authority for one month, his colleague Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., who voted against Jordan on Tuesday, sponsored a resolution. If a speaker is elected by that time, the resolution would expire.
Kelly said that if McHenry is elevated, “the House will be able to hold votes necessary to fund the government” ahead of a Nov. 17 deadline to prevent a shutdown.
Democratic voters may be open to the proposition. House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, a Democrat from New York, walked in and unlocked the door.
We’ll have to review it, but all options are on the table to end the Republican civil war. We’ve been saying from the very beginning that we want a bipartisan path forward. That does not involve Jim Jordan, who is a poster child for Republican extremism and a danger to our democracy.Jeffries said
On Tuesday, McHenry declined to comment when asked if he would favor an increase in his power.
Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., who was nominating Jeffries once more on Wednesday, joked that if the House could achieve a resolution, he would abbreviate his speeches, but he wasn’t hopeful that it would.
He pointed out that Jordan received 200 votes and Jeffries received 212 the day before.
No amount of election denying is going to take away from those vote totals. The country can’t afford more delays and more chaos. Fifteen days should be enoughAguilar said
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