Plan to empower McHenry is scrapped; Jordan to continue bid for House Speaker

October 19, 2023

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) was vowing to press on with his campaign to be Speaker of the House after a plan to temporarily empower the Speaker Pro Tempore met with GOP opposition.

Jordan on Thursday morning had said he would back a resolution to more greatly empower Speaker Pro Tem Patrick McHenry (R-NC) through the end of the year.

That plan would have allowed Jordan to remain Speaker designee and use the added time to try to win the votes of more House Republicans.

But when dozens of GOP lawmakers expressed opposition to the plan, Jordan reversed course, saying he’d move forward instead with another vote for Speaker on the House floor.

Jordan has already lost two rounds of voting for the Speakership, and opposition against him was reportedly only growing among his party’s caucus early Thursday. 

Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) told CNN’s Manu Raju that Jordan “doesn’t have the votes, it’s going to get worse for him, so let’s not delay this.”

Jordan lost 20 Republican votes in the first round of voting on Tuesday and 22 in the second round on Wednesday. Because Republicans hold a razor-thin majority in the House, he—or any other nominee—cannot afford to lost more than four Republicans’ support as all 212 Democrats have been voting en mass for House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY)—just as they did in January when Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) underwent a near-historic 15 rounds of voting before taking the gavel. 

The move to more greatly empower McHenry, at least temporarily, came as House Republicans have been under pressure to move quickly to choose a new leader from members of their own party in the Senate amid a looming deadline to pass a federal budget for fiscal year 2024 and avoid a government shutdown in mid-November, as well as calls to approve appropriations for additional military aid to Israel and Ukraine.

After the plan to empower McHenry fell apart, Jordan told reporters he wanted to “talk with the 20 individuals who voted against me so that we can move forward and begin to work for the American people.”

He gave no timetable for a third Speaker vote.

Read more exclusive news from Political IQ.

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