Jim Jordan suffered a second defeat Wednesday in his bid to win the speaker’s gavel — a campaign that now appears doomed to fail even as the firebrand Ohio Republican insists he wants to keep going.
Even after he spent hours trying to win over holdouts, Jordan lost ground in Wednesday’s vote as 22 Republicans threw their support elsewhere, more than the 20 GOP defections in Tuesday’s first round of voting. Jordan flipped two votes Wednesday and added one from a member who was absent yesterday but lost four others. He apparently set an ignominious record by failing to garner 200 votes — and Jordan’s opponents insist that his tally will only get worse if he pushes for another round of voting.
CNN’s Melanie Zanona reported that some Republicans say they’ve been strategizing over their “no” votes and staggering them to look like the opposition to Jordan is growing.
“I believe he’s done. He needs to withdraw from this. He’s going to lose more votes,” Republican Rep. Don Bacon of Nebraska told CNN. “He doesn’t have any pathway forward to 217,” Bacon said, adding that he already knows which lawmakers are going to switch their votes next time.
Bacon also explained that opposition to Jordan breaks down along two main lines: Some Republicans don’t want to back him because of his history as a chaos agent while others are bristling at the hardball tactics he and his allies used in the speaker’s race against House Majority Leader Steve Scalise.
Jordan sounded unbowed, though. “We got 200 votes. You know, we picked up some today, a couple dropped off but they voted for me before, I think they can come back again. So we'll keep talking to members, we'll keep working on it,” he told reporters.
He’s also reportedly wheeling and dealing with holdouts, including telling New York lawmakers that he would support doubling the cap on the state-and-local tax deduction to $20,000 — a proposal that would “cost about $54 billion through 2025 and mostly help those earning over $100,000 annually,” according to the Tax Foundation.
A move to empower McHenry: With the House still paralyzed in its 15th day without a speaker, momentum also appears to be building among lawmakers for a resolution to temporarily empower Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry so that the House can take up time-sensitive legislation including aid for Israel and funding the government.
“After two weeks without a Speaker of the House and no clear candidate with 217 votes in the Republican conference, it is time to look at other viable options. By empowering Patrick McHenry as Speaker Pro Tempore we can take care of our ally Israel until a new Speaker is elected,” Ohio Rep. David Joyce said in a statement.
Former Republican House Speakers Newt Gingrich and John Boehner both endorsed McHenry as an interim leader to allow legislative work to resume. But a resolution to expand McHenry’s powers for a defined period of time would likely require Democratic support to reach the required majority. “Some Democrats have suggested they would want assurances that McHenry would allow votes on bipartisan spending bills, aide to Ukraine, and other measures that could pass,” NPR reports.
The bottom line: Another vote is expected Thursday and McHenry reportedly said that Jordan will continue with votes “as long as he needs,” but other Republicans are also considering other potential speaker candidates as another path forward. It’s all still a mess.