US Representative Jim Jordan (C), R-OH, speaks to the press as he leaves after a Republican party caucus meeting at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on October 16, 2023.
Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images
The U.S. House of Representatives is voting Tuesday on whether Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, will become its next speaker.
The vote came just two weeks after a faction of hardline Republican lawmakers ousted then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy and threw the lower chamber into chaos.
The Judiciary Committee chairman can only afford to lose four Republicans out of 221 and still win the gavel.
Jordan’s candidacy was in peril, at least on the first ballot, with more than four GOP lawmakers voting so far against the Ohio congressman. Several lawmakers voted for McCarthy and House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, despite the fact that they are not running, as well as Lee Zeldin who is no longer in office.
“We are in a time of great crisis across America, a time of historic challenges in the his very chamber, and a time when heinous acts of terror and evil have been committed against our great ally Israel,” said Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., who formally nominated Jordan on the floor. “Jim Jordan will be America’s speaker for such a time as this,” she said.
Democrats, meanwhile, nominated their own speaker pick, Minority Leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y.
“A vote for the gentleman from Ohio is a vote to turn your back on national security,” said Rep. Pete Aguilar D-Calif., referring to Jordan in his speech nominating Jeffries. “It’s a vote to turn your back on a bipartisan path to fund the government and avoid shutdowns, something we can only do only if we reject his nomination.”
The deeply divided Republican conference has so far been unable to coalesce around a candidate for speaker after McCarthy’s ouster. House Majority Leader Steve Scalise was the party’s original nominee to succeed McCarthy, but he was forced to abandon his bid last week after he could not secure the votes.
McCarthy himself faced 15 rounds of voting before he won the gavel in January. Jordan has said he wants the House to keep voting Tuesday until it chooses a speaker, suggesting Jordan intends to wear down his opposition on the House floor.
The House has been leaderless for two weeks after a faction of eight Republicans led by Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida ousted McCarthy in an unprecedented no-confidence vote.
Democrats refused to come to the rescue of McCarthy’s speakership, which led to his downfall. They have no incentive do Jordan any favors either, a hard-right Ohio Republican and close ally of Donald Trump who is leading an impeachment inquiry against President Joe Biden.
This means Jordan has to rely entirely on his party’s narrow majority. Democrats are backing House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York.
The leadership vacuum in the House has put Congress in a state of paralysis, unable to move forward with important national security legislation amid rising tensions and escalating conflict around the world.
Biden and Republican national security hawks like House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul of Texas have warned the leadership vacuum in the lower chamber is dangerous.
The president has called on Congress to pass emergency security assistance for Israel after the devastating Hamas terrorist attacks, as well as for Ukraine as Kyiv is running out of time to push Russia back before the weather makes military operations more difficult.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.