Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, talks to reporters after a House Republican Conference meeting in the U.S. Capitol on the speaker of the house nomination on Thursday, October 12, 2023.
Mandel Ngan | Afp | Getty Images
House Republicans on Friday nominated Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio as their new nominee for speaker of the House of Representatives, after Rep. Steve Scalise abandoned his candidacy in the face of opposition from hard-right members of the GOP.
Jordan, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, defeated Rep. Austin Scott of Georgia in a closed-door internal party vote Friday, 124 to 81.
But after nominating Jordan, the conference took a second secret ballot vote, to gauge support for Jordan now that he was nominee. On this vote, Jordan came away with 152 votes for him, and 55 against, far short of the 217 he would need in a formal vote on the House floor.
Following the second vote, lawmakers broke for the weekend, with few signs of what would come next.
Rep. Mark Alford, R-Texas, told CNBC they would hold a floor vote on Jordan’s speakership Tuesday. But as members departed the Capitol complex, next week’s schedule was still in flux.
Scalise, the GOP majority leader from Louisiana, withdrew his nomination Thursday evening after it became clear he would not have the GOP votes needed to secure the speakership in a floor vote.
“Our conference still has to come together and is not there,” Scalise said after withdrawing his nomination Thursday. “There are still some people that have their own agendas. And it was very clear we have to have everybody put their agendas on the side and focus on what this country needs.”
House Republicans had nominated Scalise Wednesday after he defeated Jordan in a narrow 113-to-99 internal party vote behind closed doors.
Jordan subsequently backed Scalise and encouraged Republican lawmakers to do the same. But several GOP House members insisted they would still vote for Jordan on the House floor, sinking any chance Scalise had of taking the gavel.
The House has been leaderless for more than a week after a faction of eight Republicans, led by Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, engineered the ouster of Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California.
The lower chamber is effectively in a state of paralysis, unable to move forward with urgent business until a House speaker is elected.
The leadership vacuum in the House leaves Congress unable to respond to President Joe Biden’s call for lawmakers to take “urgent action” on security assistance for Israel after the devastating Hamas terrorist attacks, as well as for Ukraine as Kyiv wages its grinding counteroffensive against Russia.
Congress also needs to pass spending legislation by Nov. 17 in order to avoid a government shutdown.
GOP lawmakers floated several plans Friday morning to resolve the impasse, but it is unclear any of the proposals could muster the votes needed to make them reality.
Rep. Dan Meuser of Pennsylvania told Newsmax he would propose a Scalise-Jordan leadership team.
Rep. Tom McClintock of California is pushing to reinstate McCarthy, who faced a grueling 15 votes before he was elected speaker in January.
Republican lawmakers piled on Gaetz and the seven other Republicans who ousted McCarthy in a no-confidence vote. Democrats refused to rescue McCarthy’s speakership, leading to his downfall.
“Our conference never voted to oust our speaker. Eight of our ‘morally superior’ colleagues made that decision for us,” McClintock said.
Rep. Mike Lawler of New York told NBC News that the McCarthy’s ouster was the “single most destructive thing” he has seen in politics.
— CNBC’s Emily Wilkins contributed reporting from Washington, D.C.