Jim Jordan loses second vote for House speaker
The House on Wednesday again declined to elect Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan as speaker, leaving the chamber in chaos as the Republican majority remains unable to choose a leader who can win a simple majority vote.
Twenty-two Republicans refused to back Jordan for the speakership, up from the 20 who refused to back him on his first attempt Tuesday. All of the lawmakers who voted against Jordan, a right-wing firebrand, backed more traditional Republicans, including former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield and House Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana.
All House Democrats backed House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York for speaker.
The House has been in free fall for two weeks now. On Sept. 29, a small faction of rebel Republicans ousted McCarthy with the help of the Democrats. Scalise dropped out of the race for speaker last week after it became apparent he didn’t have the votes. Jordan took his place and on Tuesday fell short of the speakership after 20 Republicans voted against him.
Without a speaker, the chamber cannot vote on vital legislation, including bills to send funding to Ukraine as it fends off the Russian invasion and to Israel as its military prepares to invade the Gaza Strip in response to an Oct. 7 attack by Hamas militants.
If the House cannot elect a speaker, members could choose to empower Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), who is serving as speaker pro tempore, to move crucial legislation. Former GOP House Speakers John A. Boehner and Newt Gingrich pushed for that solution in statements Tuesday.
Jordan has said he’d like the House to vote on that issue today.
Jordan’s continued failure to secure the speakership is a defeat for former President Trump, who endorsed the Ohioan shortly after McCarthy’s ouster.
Jordan was a key player in the Trump campaign’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, further cementing his loyalty to the former president. Trump, who faces state and federal criminal charges for his attempts to overturn the election and his alleged mishandling of classified documents, is the front-runner for the GOP nomination for president.
Jordan has been a vocal critic of Democrats — and moderate Republicans — throughout his 16 years in Congress. Though Jordan has never served in party leadership or passed a single law, he enjoys the support of right-wing influencers and television stars, who have waged a bullish public campaign to pressure GOP holdouts into backing him.
After the vote, Rep. Mike Lawler of New York told reporters that “it’s clear he doesn’t have the votes.”
“I don’t see the outcome changing,” Lawler said. He added that he would back empowering McHenry, the speaker pro tempore, but that he still believes McCarthy should be leading the party.
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