Jim Jordan failed Thursday to sway holdouts who have opposed his bid to be the next US House speaker, raising questions about the Trump loyalist’s next move.
(Bloomberg) — Jim Jordan failed Thursday to sway holdouts who have opposed his bid to be the next US House speaker, raising questions about the Trump loyalist’s next move.
After a day of fits and starts, Jordan, an Ohio Republican and ally of former President Donald Trump, said he would seek a third floor vote. But his opponents stood firm in a Thursday evening meeting.
Russell Dye, Jordan’s spokesman, said a floor vote was planned for 10 a.m. Friday. Jordan is scheduled to hold a press conference at 8.
“The reality of it is, we all told him we were solid nos. That was the discussion,” Vern Buchanan, a Florida Republican, said after that meeting. “Now he’s got a decision to make.”
Jordan had earlier sought to delay a new vote on his own speaker bid by expanding caretaker speaker Patrick McHenry’s powers so that the House could resume business with the North Carolina Republican as an interim leader, possibly until early next year.
That would have allowed Jordan months to muster support from GOP lawmakers who have voted against him on two ballots this week.
Yet the idea provoked a fierce backlash from a number of conservative Republicans and several lawmakers emerged from a closed-door meeting of the party’s House members saying the proposal lacked support.
“Over half the Republicans in the room won’t vote for it,” Representative Jim Banks of Indiana, a conservative who is running for a Senate seat, said. “It’s a historic mistake.”
“The mood of the room is clear. Opposed,” Representative Pat Fallon of Texas said as he left an earlier closed-door Republican meeting.
Jordan told colleagues in the tense session that he would now call all the GOP opponents and decide how to move forward. Several other lawmakers said they expected the House to work into the weekend on the speaker issue.
“I’m still running for speaker and I plan to go to the floor and get the vote and win this race,” Jordan said after emerging from the four-hour meeting with Republicans.
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He fell far short of the votes needed to obtain the speaker’s gavel in two rounds of balloting this week amid objections to his hardball tactics and deep divisions within the party.
Florida Republican Mario Diaz-Balart signaled his approval for an interim speaker, saying he would “support a proposal to get the conservative Republican agenda back on track.”
It’s unclear how long the interim period would last. One proposal would make McHenry temporary speaker through Jan. 3 and another contemplates a shorter period, running through Nov. 30. And the date could be revised as negotiations proceed.
Democrats have also been noncommittal about empowering McHenry and their votes could be needed if more than four Republicans vote against the resolution. Several party moderates held out hope they could force a vote on the proposal with Democratic help.
“If we’re going to be a lifeline, I think there’s going to be conditions,” said Democrat Raul Grijalva of Arizona.
The speaker’s office has been vacant for more than two weeks, leaving the House paralyzed. Lawmakers have been unable to address aid for Israel in its war with Hamas or consider funding measures to avoid an impending mid-November US government shutdown.
The caretaker position was established after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and has been largely interpreted as limited to presiding over the choice of a new speaker. McHenry was among those who’ve agreed with that interpretation.
–With assistance from Steven T. Dennis, Ari Natter and Maeve Sheehey.
(Updates with vote timing, in third paragraph.)
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