House Poised for Pivotal Speaker Vote Amid GOP Turmoil
The House of Representatives is scheduled for a crucial vote Tuesday for the Speaker of the House after Rep. Jim Jordan from Ohio was nominated last week by Republicans to take up the Speaker’s gavel.
The nomination came amid a tumultuous political swirl within the GOP, grappling with internal divisions and a looming legislative paralysis.
Kevin McCarthy was ousted from the position of House Speaker in a historic vote at the beginning of the month, marking the first time in U.S. history this has occurred. This development on Capitol Hill has led to a bid to fill the leadership void left by McCarthy.
Rep. Patrick McHenry was immediately named speaker pro tempore, but the House has been left unable to conduct business.
The nomination of Jordan, a figure often seen as polarizing, has received mixed reactions from both sides of the aisle. While former President Donald Trump has thrown his weight behind Jordan, praising his conservative stance, others within the GOP have expressed reservations. Jordan’s hardline conservative ideologies, his role in the founding of the House Freedom Caucus, and his aggressive style have been both celebrated and criticized, underscoring the deep-seated division within the Republican party.
Congressman Pete Aguilar, chair of the Democratic caucus, told reporters that Republicans continue to nominate vocal election deniers.
“House Republicans are intent on doubling down and have chosen to nominate a vocal election-denier in Jim Jordan,” … “A man whose rhetoric and partisanship fomented the January 6 attack on this very building, on these very steps,” Aguilar said.
217 Votes Needed
It’s unclear if Jordan has enough support from the full House to reach the 217 votes majority needed since there are two vacancies. Since Republicans have a slim majority in the House, they can only afford to lose four votes to get to a majority.
In an interview with Politico, Jordan said he believes he will get the 217 votes required to secure the speakership.
“We think we’re going to get 217,” Jordan said.
Several Republicans have already publicly said they will not vote for Jordan on Tuesday – Mike Rogers of Alabama, John Rutherford, and Carlos Gimenez of Florida.
Prior to Jordan’s nomination, the GOP was rallying behind Majority Leader Steve Scalise, whose bid for the Speakership hit a brick wall due to entrenched opposition from within the party. Scalise’s withdrawal from the race paved the way for Jordan’s nomination, a move some saw as a shift further right on the GOP’s ideological spectrum.
The unfolding leadership drama didn’t stop with Jordan’s nomination. Representative Mike Johnson from Louisiana has hinted at entering the race should Jordan fail to garner the required 217 votes on Tuesday.
“If Jordan cannot get to 217, Johnson intends to step up,” a source told NBC News. “Many members are asking him to do so.”
NBC added: “Johnson would seek to be a consensus candidate, attempting to bridge hard-right conservatives and moderates who have been waging war against one another”.”
On the other side of the aisle, Democratic House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries has voiced the necessity for bipartisan discussions to steer the House out of the current leadership mess. Jeffries hinted at the ongoing informal discussions aimed at fostering a bipartisan governing coalition, a development that could potentially alter the dynamics of the upcoming vote.
Who is Jim Jordan?
Jim Jordan, a staunch conservative and a notable figure within the Republican ranks, has been serving the Ohio constituency in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2006. Since then, Jordan has risen through the GOP ranks, previously chairing the House Freedom Caucus and holding the position of the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee since 2020, where he’s been active in fighting off investigations into former President Donald Trump and launching inquiries into President Biden.
His allegiance to conservative causes extends beyond the political arena, demonstrated by his questioning of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the House hearings on the 2012 Benghazi attack. Jordan’s reputation as a political flamethrower is well-acknowledged within the GOP, often unafraid to challenge his party’s leadership or launch vehement attacks against Democrats. Despite encountering controversy, notably in 2018, over allegations about his tenure as an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State University, Jordan’s influence within the party remains significant, with support from notable figures like Rep. Matt Gaetz (Fla.). His enduring rapport with former President Trump, who awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom and recently endorsed his bid for the Speaker role, underscores his standing within the conservative faction of the GOP.
Tuesday’s Crucial Vote
McCarthy’s ousting came as a result of eight Republican hardliners, discontented with McCarthy’s handling of certain legislative affairs, joining forces with Democrats to vote him out.
The stalemate has left the House in a state of paralysis, unable to move forward on urgent matters, including government funding and responses to international crises.
As the clock ticks towards the pivotal vote, the political landscape remains charged, with every move and countermove under the microscope. Tuesday’s vote could either steer the GOP toward unity or plunge it deeper into chaos.