(RepublicanJournal.org) – GOP hopes of a quick decision on the new House Speaker are fading after Trump-endorsed candidate Jim Jordan (R-OH) lost the first two ballots among his fellow House Republicans. It took 15 rounds of voting to elect the last speaker, Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), in January. With vital funding legislation at risk, another dragged-out contest will cause a lot of discontent — but so far there’s no sign of a way forward.
The House Is in Crisis
On October 3, for the first time in history, the House Speaker was removed from their post during a legislative session. Speaker McCarthy was brought down after eight Republican congressmen voted with Democrats on a motion introduced by Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL). Now the GOP has to find a replacement, and it isn’t proving easy.
Jordan has been endorsed by former president Donald Trump, but some of his fellow Republicans are refusing to back him. On October 17 he got 201 votes, trailing behind Democrat candidate Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) after 20 of his colleagues voted for other candidates. In the second ballot on October 18, his support fell to 199 votes after another two Republicans defected. Seven voted for Representative Steve Scalise (R-LA) while five backed the recently ousted McCarthy — who isn’t even running — and ten supported other candidates.
Right now, the job is being filled by Speaker pro tem Pattrick McHenry (R-NC). His main job is to supervise the election of a new permanent speaker, and he doesn’t hold the full powers of the post. McHenry was an ally of McCarthy and he now says he’s committed to getting Jordan elected, but the narrow GOP majority is making that difficult. With a majority of just eight seats, four dissenting Republicans are enough to block a candidate, and some of Jordan’s colleagues are warning that his support will fall even further in the next vote.
The problem is there’s no sign of another candidate the feuding party could unite behind. Jordan doesn’t have enough support to win a ballot; Scalise, who was seen as his main rival for the post, doesn’t either. The Democrats can’t do an end run and get Jeffries into the job unless some Republicans vote with them, and that isn’t likely at all.
So, for now, the House is gridlocked. McHenry can’t bring bills to the floor, raising the specter of a government shutdown; the House can’t even pass a motion affirming its support for Israel in the ongoing Middle East conflict. Unless Jordan can offer something irresistible to his GOP opponents, this impasse could drag on for a while.
Jordan is now pushing for a third run for Speaker.
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