GOP is not going to transfer ahead with plan to empower McHenry

U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) (R) talks to Speaker Pro Tempore Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) as the House of Representatives prepares to hold a vote on a new Speaker of the House at the U.S. Capitol on October 18, 2023 in Washington, DC.

Win Mcnamee | Getty Images

Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio said Thursday GOP lawmakers will not move forward with a plan to empower interim House Speaker Patrick McHenry until January.

Jordan said he pitched the plan during a closed-door meeting but the Republican conference did not want to move forward with the idea.

“We decided that isn’t where we’re going to go,” Jordan told reporters. “I’m still running for speaker and I plan to go to the floor and get the votes and win this race.”

Jordan had backed the plan as a bridge that would allow the House to move forward with important legislation until the deeply divided Republican conference can coalesce around a permanent replacement.

The Ohio Republican’s bid to secure the gavel failed in two separate votes this week, leaving the GOP with no clear path to elect a speaker. Jordan is unlikely to prevail in a third vote given that he faces a wall of opposition from 20 Republican lawmakers.

Congress faces a ticking clock to pass spending legislation by Nov. 17 to avoid a government shutdown. President Joe Biden has also urged lawmakers to pass emergency security assistance for Israel as the Middle East descends into war.

The plan to empower McHenry was one potentially viable option to end the impasse because Democrats had expressed openness to supporting the proposal.

But Jordan allies were furious at the plan to empower McHenry for exactly that reason.

“Expanding powers for a temporary Speaker is a dangerous precedent and exactly what the Democrats hoped would happen,” said Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana in a post on “X” Thursday.

Several other GOP lawmakers said resolution was dead after leaving the conference meeting.

“Reading the room, this thing is dead,” Rep. Vern Buchanan of Florida told reporters.

“It’s pretty clear at our conference meeting that the resolution is not gonna be supported,” said Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida. “So I think that’s pretty much over.”

“I don’t think we’re going to move forward on that resolution,” said Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado.

McHenry said Thursday he has not spoken with House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York or other Democrats about empowering him to oversee legislation.

“I’m focused on electing Jim Jordan, the speaker nominee, as speaker of the House. That’s my goal, that’s my purpose,” McHenry told reporters.

House Republicans have been unable to find a candidate with enough votes to become speaker more than two weeks after a faction of eight GOP lawmakers ousted Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California.

The House is paralyzed and unable to pass legislation until lawmakers elect a speaker.

The GOP has a narrow majority in the House, and in the absence of Democratic support any Republican speaker candidate can afford to lose only four votes from within their party.

So far, no Republican has been able to rally the party behind them. House Majority Leader Steve Scalise was the GOP’s original nominee to replace McCarthy, but the Louisiana congressman was forced to drop his bid last week after it became clear he did not have the votes.

Jordan, who originally lost to Scalise in an internal party vote for the nomination, then threw his hat back in the ring.

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