After Rep. Kevin McCarthy was removed from his position as Speaker of the House of Representatives, House proceedings came to a standstill while Republicans scrambled to elect a new speaker.
Rep. Patrick McHenry, named interim speaker, was given the responsibility of overseeing the vote for a new speaker. However, McHenry hasn’t attempted to broaden his scope of power given his unprecedented position, which has halted the legislative process.
Countless bills have been pending vote while the House worked to select a new speaker. One draft legislation — which received bipartisan support, a rarity — would penalize hospitals that didn’t publicly disclose their prices.
House Republicans needed to get their act together and elect a new speaker so that they can get back to what is really important: policymaking. Their inability to get on the same page, however, was making it difficult to do so.
Rep. Steve Scalise was named the Republican nominee for the speakership following McCarthy’s removal after he beat Rep. Jim Jordan in a secret ballot by a vote of 113-99. Scalise would still need to receive 217 votes to win the House floor vote.
Jordan urged his backers to show their support for Scalise to avoid a repeat of the 15-ballot debacle to approve McCarthy as speaker in January.
However, Scalise withdrew from the race for speaker just a day after his nomination. He appeared to conclude that he would not be able to attain the votes he needed, with at least 13 Republicans not planning to back him according to ABC News.
I think Scalise dodged a bullet. McCarthy will go down in history as the weakest Speaker of the House, and a large part of that is on account of the excruciating 15 ballots it took to give him the win.
That isn’t to say that Scalise wouldn’t have won over the Republican holdouts at all, but the length of McCarthy’s speakership bid weakened his grip over the chamber from the moment he took the gavel, and even just two ballots would diminish Scalise’s authority as well.
Plus, the faction of MAGA Republicans that moved to vacate McCarthy at the slightest action against their own self-interests would have attempted to hold Scalise under their thumb in a similar way.
Jordan took Scalise’s place as the Republican nominee for speaker after another secret ballot vote, securing a 124-vote majority. That is more than Scalise received, but Jordan still needed 93 votes to reach the golden number 217.
While he still had to work to secure votes from Republican holdouts, Jordan is more the MAGA faction’s speed.
Not only has Jordan openly denied the results of the 2020 presidential election, but he’s also received an endorsement from former president Donald Trump.
Trump wrote on Truth Social that Jordan “will be a GREAT Speaker of the House & has my Complete & Total Endorsement!” according to CNN.
However, the issue for Jordan now lies in whether he can secure support from the rest of the House Republican conference. Rep. Steve Womack, for one, expressed concerns that Jordan was too polarizing to preside over the entire House.
At this point, two weeks after McCarthy’s ousting from the speakership, I didn’t care who it was, I just wanted a speaker to be chosen. I disagree with Jordan’s political beliefs but if he wanted to risk getting McCarthy’d by the House, then he can be my guest.
The House has until Nov. 17 to get its act together to avoid a government shutdown after McCarthy passed a stopgap bill to keep government agencies funded at their current levels for 45 days — the move that caused Rep. Matt Gaetz to file the motion to vacate him from the speakership (thanks McCarthy, by the way).
The government cannot afford to shut down. The House needs to cut the drama fast and develop a spending plan that both Democrats and Republicans, including those in the MAGA faction, can get behind.
The House needs to return to its legislative duties and put the citizens of the United States first, bringing bills to the floor such as the aforementioned bipartisan hospital spending bill.
On Tuesday, Jordan failed to secure the speakership in the first round of voting, receiving 200 of the necessary 217 votes needed. He failed again on Wednesday, receiving 199 votes. The 212 House Democrats unanimously backed Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries for both votes, and there is no doubt that they will continue to do so.
Any optimism I have for the speakership saga to come to an end is quickly fading.