Rep. Jim Jordan once again failed to secure enough votes on Wednesday to become House speaker, leaving the lower chamber without a leader to replace the recently-ousted Kevin McCarthy. After Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry declared “a speaker has not been elected,” he called the House into recess for an indefinite period.
22 Republicans voted against Jordan, who garnered a total of 199 votes. Compared to Tuesday’s first ballot, four more Republicans voted against him — and he picked up two Republicans, Reps. Doug LaMalfa of California and Victoria Spartz of Virginia. GOP Reps. Kay Granger of Texas and Jen Kiggans of Virginia were among the Republicans who voted for someone other than Jordan during the two rounds of voting, but each said the pressure campaign being mounted by Jordan’s allies will not sway them. Granger, who chairs the Appropriations Committee, cast both of her votes for Steven Scalise: “Steve Scalise is an honorable man and has earned my vote for Speaker. This was a vote of conscience and I stayed true to my principles. Intimidation and threats will not change my position.” Kiggans wrote on social media that “threats and intimidation tactics will not change my principles and values,” and expressed support for Kevin McCarthy on the first two ballots.
Some Republicans indicated they want the lower chamber to increase the power of Rep. Patrick McHenry, the speaker pro tempore, but that would also likely require support from House Democrats, with some saying they favor a vote to expand his authority to allow for consideration of a limited legislative agenda. Asked about a proposal to expand McHenry’s powers as speaker pro tempore, Jordan said “at some point, that question should be called,” but added that doing so will be up to McHenry as the interim speaker.
Jordan told reporters following the vote that he plans to remain in the race for speaker: “Speaker McCarthy, he had a two-month runway from when he got the conference nomination and when we got to that first week in January, so we’re right where he was in his numbers. We got 200 votes. You know, we picked up some today, a couple dropped off but they voted for me before, I think they can come back again. So we’ll keep talking to members, we’ll keep working on it.” Asked whether he is staying in the race, Jordan replied, “Yep,” but added that he is unsure whether the Republican conference will gather for a meeting, and that he plans to meet members individually.
Of the 22 Republican lawmakers who cast their votes for someone other than Jordan, Scalise received seven votes, McCarthy received five votes, and Reps. Byron Donalds of Florida, Tom Emmer of Minnesota, Mike Garcia of California, Kay Granger of Texas and Bruce Westerman of Arkansas all had one vote apiece in their name. Lee Zeldin, a former New York congressman, received three votes, while former Speaker John Boehner of Ohio and former Rep. Candice Miller of Michigan each received one vote.
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