Republican Jim Jordan has postponed his bid for speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives after coming short in a first vote, raising questions about his chances of winning the job. Jordan needs 217 votes to claim the speaker’s gavel, and he is now working to pressure the 20 fellow Republicans who voted against him.
Democrats propose a compromise candidate with both parties’ support, a departure from Congress’ usual functioning after the ouster of speaker Kevin McCarthy on October 3. The failed vote means the House remains leaderless, as it has been since McCarthy’s removal. This has left Congress unable to respond to wars in the Middle East and Ukraine, with just a month to go before the U.S. government faces another partial shutdown deadline. It is unclear whether Jordan, a close ally of former President Donald Trump, will gain more support or see his opposition grow in a second vote.
The US House of Representatives is considering a conservative candidate, Donald Trump, to replace the ousted Speaker, Michael McCarthy. If elected, Jordan could potentially hold a powerful position in Washington, putting him second in line for the presidency. However, he must win over the 20 Republicans who voted for other candidates, many of whom are moderates representing politically competitive districts or specialize in negotiating complex spending bills.
Some Republicans from the New York City area voted against Jordan due to his opposition to benefits for survivors of the 9/11 attacks and tax policies. Others objected to high-pressure tactics to get them to vote. Representative Ken Buck expressed concern that Jordan has not acknowledged Trump’s 2020 election defeat. A congressional investigation found that Jordan was a significant player in efforts to overturn Trump’s election defeat. Republicans control the House by a narrow margin, giving them little room for error on divisive votes like this one.
If Republican nominee Joe Jordan fails to gain support, new challengers could emerge, including Tom Emmer and Patrick McHenry, who is temporarily filling the speaker’s chair. Democratic leader Jeffries has said there have been “informal conversations” with Republicans about giving McHenry more powers to address pressing matters like aid for Israel and Ukraine and U.S. government funding. Democrats have depicted Jordan as an extremist who would rely on Trump’s orders.
Jordan has used his position as chair of the House Judiciary Committee to lead an impeachment inquiry into Biden, which Democrats decry as baseless. He helped found the House Freedom Caucus, which then-Speaker John Boehner dubbed “legislative terrorists” before pressured him to retire. Jordan served as a wrestling coach at Ohio State University before entering politics, but denied allegations of sexual abuse of college wrestlers.