House speaker election: Jordan moves for third vote, as measure backing McHenry stalls

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Rep. Jim Jordan’s push to become the next speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives looked stuck Thursday, but the immediate outlook also wasn’t good for a measure that would have the chamber’s temporary speaker, GOP Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, serve in the post until January.

Reports on Thursday morning said Jordan, the Republican nominee for House speaker, wasn’t ending his bid for the post, but he was planning to steer clear of pushing for a third round of voting on Thursday — and planning to back a measure focused on McHenry.

After a number of House Republicans voiced objections to that measure, Jordan indicated it wasn’t advancing and said he’d seek a third ballot on his speaker bid, scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday.

“We made the pitch to members on the resolution as a way to lower the temperature and get back to work. We decided that wasn’t where we’re going to go,” the Ohio congressman told reporters on Thursday afternoon.

“I’m still running for speaker, and I plan to go to the floor and get the votes and win this race. But I want to go talk with a few of my colleagues. Particularly I want to talk with the 20 individuals who voted against me so that we can move forward and begin to work for the American people.”

Jordan has been running into trouble in his push to become the next speaker, with 20 fellow Republicans voting against him Tuesday in an initial ballot. The GOP opposition then rose to 22 lawmakers in a second ballot on Wednesday.

Betting markets have been seeing McHenry as more likely than Jordan to get the speaker job on a more permanent basis. The North Carolinian’s chances stood at 41% on Thursday afternoon, while Jordan’s had dived to just 6%, according to one betting market, Smarkets.

The decision on Thursday morning to hold off on a third ballot by Jordan — an ally of former President Donald Trump and co-founder of the hardline House Freedom Caucus — comes after analysts had warned that the process of picking a new leader was preventing the Republican-run House from addressing crucial matters, such as avoiding a government shutdown next month and supporting Israel. Officials from President Joe Biden’s administration and other Democrats have criticized the GOP over the House drama, which began more than two weeks ago with the historic ouster of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

“President Biden is leading and standing up for our national security interests on the world stage, fighting to reduce costs like energy and junk fees — both of which he took recent action on — and bringing the nation together to support Israel in the wake of the worst terrorist attack in its history,” said White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates in a statement on Thursday morning. “Meanwhile, House Republicans continue their downward spiral into chaos and away from governing.”

Related: Israel could get $10 billion and Ukraine $60 billion under Biden request

Republican Rep. Dave Joyce of Ohio has indicated he’s ready to introduce a resolution that would put McHenry in the speaker job more permanently and expand the interim speaker’s powers. There’s also a view among some experts on congressional procedures that McHenry isn’t facing any practical limits in running the House and doesn’t need to have his powers expanded.

Any measure focused on McHenry is expected to require the support of some Democrats in order to pass the narrowly divided House, because it wouldn’t get support from some Republicans.

“Expanding powers for a temporary Speaker is a dangerous precedent and exactly what the Democrats hoped would happen. I’m a NO vote!” said GOP Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana in a post on X.

“This resolution is really dangerous. We need to have a NORMAL election for speaker. @Jim_Jordan, I respect you but it is a massive mistake to back this,” wrote GOP Rep. Anna Paulina Luna of Florida on X.

Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, a New York Democrat, has signaled openness to the McHenry option, saying the North Carolinian is respected on both sides of the aisle.

U.S. stocks


were mostly lower Thursday amid choppy trading. Investors were digesting Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell’s statement that further interest-rate hikes might be needed, as the 10-year Treasury yield
traded close to the 5% mark.

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