Congress has been in chaos for weeks.
Since coming within hours of a partial government shutdown at the start of the month to a leadership crisis within the GOP, the chaos on Capitol Hill hasn’t let up.
Democratic lawmakers have ridiculed the upheaval, and Republicans have little clarity about what will happen next in the process. But there are several potential avenues to resolve the speakership fight in the coming weeks.
Jordan could gather votes
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, put his name up for the speakership after eight Republicans voted with every Democrat to oust former Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
Though he narrowly lost a conference vote for the nomination to Rep. Steve Scalise earlier this week, Jordan emerged as the next in line to try for a consensus this week. After Scalise withdrew, many members considered it right to give Jordan a chance to gather votes.
Yet Jordan ended Friday dozens of ballots short of the 217 Republican votes needed to win the speakership on the House floor. In a GOP conference vote Friday, 55 Republican members indicated in a secret ballot they would not vote for Jordan on the floor. That came after Jordan won a majority of his conference votes as the nominee for speaker.
Changing those votes is a tall order, but if Jordan can convince enough Republicans to support his bid, he could become the next speaker.
A dark horse could emerge as a consensus candidate
If Jordan can’t convince enough of his party to back him as speaker, the caucus will have to go back to the drawing board for a new candidate.
Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., predicted ahead of the caucus vote Friday that Jordan would not secure the votes needed, and, in that case, there would be more candidates jumping in.
“Jordan won’t get the votes. I don’t know if anybody can get the votes. Then they’re going to have four or five other members of Congress that are really, I think pretty strong members, will get in the race,” Buchanan told reporters.
Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga., put his name in for speaker against Jordan late this week, but he endorsed his rival after losing the first secret GOP ballot Friday.
Republican Study Committee Chair Kevin Hern signaled he’d be interested in running for speaker, but he dropped out before the Scalise-Jordan vote. And he supported Jordan’s recent bid in the GOP caucus meeting Friday, a source told Fox News. It’s unclear whether he would run if Jordan’s candidacy crumbles.
Two lawmakers told Fox News Digital earlier this week that Minnesota Rep. Tom Emmer, who holds the No. 3 leadership spot within the House GOP, had been floating a run for speaker behind the scenes even while publicly backing Scalise. But Emmer hasn’t said publicly if he would run for speaker.
Moderate Republicans could make a deal with Democrats
One unlikely scenario would be for moderate Republicans to make a deal with Democrats to get a bipartisan majority to elect some candidate. But that idea has many obstacles.
Democrats are likely to vote for Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries as they did on every speaker vote in January. And it’s unlikely any Republican would back a Democrat.
“No Republican is going to vote for a Democrat,” Rep. Bob Good, R-Va., told FOX Business this week. “That would be political suicide, even for the most moderate of members.”
McHenry could be granted de facto speaker powers
Another possibility would be to give North Carolina Rep. Patrick McHenry additional authority in his role as speaker pro tempore. After McCarthy’s ousting, McHenry became interim speaker, but his power to call up votes or conduct House business is mostly limited to calling votes for a speaker election.
A few House Democrats on the Problem Solvers Caucus proposed granting McHenry expanded speaker powers in 15 day increments to address a limited number of issues, including spending bills and funding for Ukraine and Israel. In exchange for the expanded powers, the Democrats would want half of the suspension bills on the calendar.
McCarthy could return
It took 15 rounds of votes for McCarthy to win the gavel in January. With the rules allowing a single member to call up a motion to vacate the chair, it’s unlikely McCarthy could make a comeback.
Scroll down to leave a comment and share your thoughts.