Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Republicans drop Jim Jordan's US House speaker bid after third failed vote

Republicans drop Jim Jordan's US House speaker bid after third failed vote
October 21, 2023 Web Desk

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Hardline conservative Republican Jim Jordan's quest to become speaker of the US House of Representatives ended on Friday as his fellow Republicans revoked their support following a third, failed vote on the House floor.

That means that the House until at least next week will remain unable to respond to President Joe Biden's request for a $106 billion national-security package including military aid for Ukraine and Israel or take action to stave off a looming Nov. 18 partial government shutdown.

Support for Jordan's candidacy faded over the course of the week. He received 194 votes in a third round of balloting on Friday, down from the 200 votes he received on Tuesday and well short of the majority he needed to claim the speaker's gavel.

Republicans then voted 112-86 to revoke Jordan's nomination in a closed-door meeting.

"It was an honor to be their speaker designee," Jordan told reporters after the meeting. "We need to come together to figure out who our speaker is going to be. I’m going to work as hard as I can to help that individual."

It is not clear who Republicans might turn to next. "We'll have to go back to the drawing board," said Representative Kevin McCarthy, who was ousted as speaker by a small faction of his fellow Republicans on Oct. 3.

McCarthy later endorsed Representative Tom Emmer, the No. 3 House Republican. At least four other lawmakers have said they would run for the job, with possibly more to come.

Republicans control the House by a narrow 221-212 majority and can afford few defections on party-line votes, a vulnerability highlighted by the current display of legislative dysfunction.

Aside from McCarthy and Jordan, Republicans have also rejected their No. 2, Steve Scalise, who won the nomination last week but dropped out after he was unable to consolidate support.

Lawmakers said they would hear from candidates on Monday evening, with a possible vote on Tuesday. Aside from Emmer, candidates include Kevin Hern, who leads a conservative policy group, and Austin Scott, a low-profile lawmaker who mounted a brief speaker bid last week.

Republicans have already considered and rejected a backup option that would allow the House take up pressing matters, like Biden's aid package or funding for the US government that is due to expire on Nov. 17.

That plan would give more authority to Republican Representative Patrick McHenry, who is filling the speaker's chair on a temporary basis. House Democrats and the White House have said they are open to the idea, but Republicans opted not to pursue it on Thursday.