By Kate Ackley and Maeve Sheehey
October 20, 2023
House in at 10 a.m. for third vote on Jim Jordan’s speaker bid
Senate returns on Tuesday with vote planned on FAA nominee
Day 17 into the House’s ugly speaker standstill one thing is clear: leaderless Republicans lack a workable majority.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said yesterday he’s staying in the race and plans a third try with a 10 a.m. vote. He also scheduled a press conference for 8 a.m.
Jordan and his fellow House Republicans put on full display the tensions among their conflicting factions, including threats of violence, as the conference whiplashes from one scrapped plan to the next.
In ceding the policy and messaging stage to the Biden administration and Senate, Republicans turned the chamber into a sideshow.
Their agenda has given way to their divisions — even as war rages in the Middle East and a potential government shutdown looms less than a month away.
“Right now the Republican agenda, the conservative agenda is totally derailed,” said Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), who opposed Jordan’s speaker bid.
The nasty spectacle could, if recent polling holds up, deal the conference a political blow in next year’s elections.
As many as 71% of voters said Republicans put their party ahead of the country, according to a recent Quinnipiac University poll, while 64% said Democrats put their party ahead of the country. And 86% of voters said they wanted the next speaker to work with both sides of the aisle, the poll found.
Sarah Chamberlain, president and CEO of the Republican Main Street Partnership, said her own group’s recent polling has her “absolutely” concerned about political fallout on “majority makers” — Republicans in battleground districts. Even among GOP primary voters in the competitive states of Nevada and New Hampshire, two-thirds support bipartisan solutions.
“They’re taking on water from this, it’s reflected in the data,” said Democratic pollster Nick Gourevitch, a partner at the Global Strategy Group.
Gourevitch conducted a poll for progressive-leaning Navigator Research out Thursday that found a 69% disapproval rating for Republicans in Congress — the lowest level since they reclaimed the House majority.
“It isn’t good for their brand,” he said.
Lawmakers will soon feel pressure to move on a supplemental funding request to aid Israel and Ukraine the president said he’ll send Congress today. They’ll also need to fund the federal government by Nov. 17 or risk a shutdown.
BUDGET BRIEF: Biden Seeks $100 Billion for Ukraine, Israel
“24 is so far off that if this gets resolved in short order, I’m not sure it has a lingering effect,” said Mark Williams, a former House GOP aide-now lobbyist at Ferox Strategies.
Presidential politics and the actual wars in the world will take on more importance to voters, he said, than the intraparty strife.
While conservatives balked at expanding Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.)’s speaker pro tempore role, the plan could return again if Jordan can’t nail down support on a third vote.
An elected speaker pro tempore would have more power than a designated speaker pro tempore. But those elections don’t occur too frequently.
According to a former House parliamentarian, the last time a speaker pro tempore was elected was in March 1998, when then-Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas) was elected for one day in the absence of Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.). Greg Giroux breaks down the history of the role and where McHenry stands.
BGOV senior politics reporter Jon Tamari answers your questions about the speaker race during a Reddit AMA today in /r/politics from noon to 2 p.m.