US House to vote on Republican Jim Jordan’s bid for speaker

US House to vote on Republican Jim Jordan’s bid for speaker
US House to vote on Republican Jim Jordan’s bid for speaker

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - US Representative Jim Jordan has been picking up support from his fellow Republicans, but this morning still appeared to be short of the 217 votes he would need to win the job. — Reuters pic

WASHINGTON, Oct 17 — Republican Jim Jordan will try to claim the gavel of the speaker of the US House of Representatives today in a vote that could elevate the combative right-wing figure to one of the most powerful posts in Washington.

When the House meets at noon EDT (1600 GMT) to fill a leadership post that has been vacant for two weeks, the Ohio lawmaker who has spent years fighting with leaders of his own party could end up in a position that puts him second in line for the presidency.

Jordan has been picking up support from his fellow Republicans, but this morning still appeared to be short of the 217 votes he would need to win the job.

“I felt good walking into the conference; I feel even better now,” Jordan, 59, told reporters after meeting with House Republicans for two hours last evening.


Since Kevin McCarthy was ousted as speaker by a small group of his fellow Republicans on Oct. 3, party infighting has left the House unable to address urgent concerns such as support for Israel and Ukraine and funding for the US government.

Jordan, a founder of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus, has for much of his career been seen as a divisive force on Capitol Hill, tangling with Republicans and Democrats alike. Nevertheless, he won the Republican nomination for speaker last Friday and has been consolidating support from former opponents in the party.

Republicans control the House by a narrow 221-212 margin, and all Democrats are expected to vote against him. At least seven Republicans are expected to vote against Jordan, which would leave him short of the 217 votes he needs.


Jordan today picked up the support of at least one lawmaker who had been noncommittal about his bid.

“The People’s House needs to get back to work. Immediately. Today as we vote for a Speaker to return to legislative business, I will vote for @Jim_Jordan,” Representative Juan Ciscomani said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Jordan is expected to hold multiple rounds of voting if he does not succeed at first, in an effort to pressure Republican holdouts to fall in line. A similar dynamic played out in January, when McCarthy needed 15 rounds of voting to win the speaker’s gavel.

Jordan’s allies have also urged conservative voters to pressure his opponents.

“My office has gotten bombarded by calls, overwhelmingly in support of Jim ... not all from constituents” said Representative Marc Molinaro, a New York Republican.

Jordan’s supporters say he would be an effective advocate for spending cuts and other Republican priorities in negotiations with Democratic President Joe Biden and the Senate, which is also controlled by Democrats.

“Jim is a tough person and is going to almost prosecute our conservative agenda through America,” said Republican Representative Mark Alford.


Democrats have recoiled at Jordan’s candidacy, painting him as an extremist who would take orders from former President Donald Trump.

“His agenda is simple: doing Trump’s bidding to criminalize abortion, slash Social Security and Medicare, and weaken democracy,” Democratic Representative Ted Lieu wrote on social media.

Jordan comes at the job from a profoundly different angle from other leaders in Congress, who typically wield influence by raising money and keeping their party united.

A fixture on conservative media outlets, Jordan amplified Trump’s false claims of election fraud in 2020. As chair of the House Judiciary Committee, he is helping lead an impeachment inquiry into Biden that Democrats decry as baseless.

He helped found the House Freedom Caucus, which then-Speaker John Boehner dubbed “legislative terrorists” before members of that group pressured him to retire. Jordan was an architect of government shutdowns in 2013 and 2018.

Jordan had a more productive relationship with McCarthy, who was forced out by a small group of Republican insurgents.

Republicans nominated Steve Scalise to succeed McCarthy last week, but he abandoned his bid after he was unable to consolidate support - a development that some Republicans blame on Jordan and his supporters.

“We’ve had a minority of the majority dictate all of us, and it’s unacceptable,” said Representative Don Bacon, who plans to vote against Jordan.

Should Jordan’s bid for speaker stall, Republican rivals have identified several alternative candidates, including No. 3 House Republican Tom Emmer and acting Speaker Patrick McHenry, who is presiding over the speaker election.

Before entering politics, Jordan served as a wrestling coach at Ohio State University. That past threatened his political career in 2018 when former students accused him of turning a blind eye to rampant sexual abuse of college wrestlers by the wrestling team’s doctor, when Jordan was an assistant coach.

Jordan denied all allegations, and a university investigation found no hard evidence that he knew of the abuse. — Reuters

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