The House of Representatives remains a House divided as the first round of voting for the next speaker yielded more votes for a Democrat than for a Republican in the GOP-controlled House.
Nominee Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) garnered 210 votes in the first round of voting with Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) tallying 212.
In light of the impasse and embarrassing display of disunity among Republicans, there are efforts to empower interim Speaker Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) as budget and important legislative issues have not been addressed in the two weeks following the ousting of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).
The motion to empower McHenry, who currently is serving as speaker pro tempore, with the authority associated with the speaker position, was brought forward by Rep. Dave Joyce (R-PA), chairman of the Republican Governance Group.
Fox News reports a formal motion will be made on Wednesday.
Political experts note that Jordan needs all but four Republicans to vote to secure the speaker’s position if, as happened earlier this week, all Democrats vote for Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY). In the first round of voting, 20 Republicans voted for other candidates. Seeing little progress toward unity had been made, Tuesday’s vote was rescheduled for Wednesday.
Joyce, who voted for Jordan, told Fox News: “After two weeks without a speaker of the House and no clear candidate with 217 votes in the Republican conference, it is time to look at other viable options. By empowering Patrick McHenry as speaker pro tempore we can take care of our ally Israel until a new speaker is elected.”
Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) said McHenry was “respected on our side of the aisle” when asked on Tuesday evening if he could be a viable candidate.
Jeffries acknowledged there were “informal conversations” regarding endorsing McHenry.
Jim Jordan opposes the plan.
The idea is reportedly gaining momentum among lawmakers. Rep. Carlos Gimenez (R-FL), who voted to reinstate McCarthy, said he would support empowering McHenry.
“If we don’t get to a speaker in a day or two,” Gimenez said, “I think we need to move forward in getting the House back in business, and so any resolution that would give McHenry more power to do that… I would be in favor of.”
CNN reported that Rep. Nick LaLota (R-NY) also supported temporarily empowering McHenry.
Punchbowl News, which broke news of the resolution, noted, if it’s introduced as a privileged resolution — one of the only viable courses for action with the House paralyzed — lawmakers would have to vote on it or vote to kill its momentum somehow within two legislative days.
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