Are Republicans giving up on electing a speaker?
Having failed to win the backing of the 217 Republican members he needed to become speaker of the US House of Representatives in two rounds of voting, Jim Jordan of Ohio announced Thursday morning that he would not call for a third vote. He did not, however, withdraw his name from future consideration. For now, he remains the official Republican Party nominee for speaker.
Jordan then endorsed a plan to empower temporary speaker Patrick McHenry of North Carolina to reopen the House to advance its most urgent business through Jan. 3, 2024. The need to respond to the Israel crisis and to bargain with Democrats to avoid yet another threatened government shutdown next month has created some support for this plan.
Yet, there isn’t yet enough support from GOP members to advance this plan either – it requires a simple majority of House members – and faced with the reality they might have to turn to Democrats for the votes they need, they abandoned the plan to empower McHenry. Jordan then said he would push for another vote on his own candidacy, but without saying when.
For now, the GOP chaos of the past three weeks leaves little reason for optimism that Republicans will unify behind any speaker candidate anytime soon.
This is the longest period that political divisions have left the House of Representatives without a speaker since debates over slavery stopped House business in 1856.