Hardline Republican Jim Jordan plans second bid for US House top job

Hardline Republican Jim Jordan plans second bid for US House top job
Hardline Republican Jim Jordan plans second bid for US House top job

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Jim Jordan came up short in an initial vote yesterday as 20 of his fellow Republicans and all 212 Democrats voted against him. Some of his Republican critics predicted that opposition could increase by five to 10 Republicans in a second ballot.. — AFP pic

WASHINGTON, Oct 18 — Outspoken conservative Jim Jordan planned to take a second shot at the top job in the US House of Representatives today, while some fellow Republicans began to explore other options with the chamber in its 16th day without a leader.

The House is due to hold a second vote to fill the vacant speaker's chair when it convenes at 11am ET (11pm Malaysian time), giving Jordan another chance to win the needed 217 votes.

Jordan came up short in an initial vote yesterday as 20 of his fellow Republicans and all 212 Democrats voted against him. Some of his Republican critics predicted that opposition could increase by five to 10 Republicans in a second ballot.

Surveying the stalemate from the sidelines, two former Republican speakers advocated for the option of empowering acting Speaker Patrick McHenry to lead the chamber, at least through the end of the year.

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Former Speaker New Gingrich, who held the role in the late 1990s early in the rise of the brand of hardline conservative that Jordan represents, recommended the move "if the House Republicans cannot resolve the speakership in the next few days" in an essay late yesterday.

"I agree," former Speaker John Boehner responded on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

Republicans who control the chamber have been unable to unite behind a speaker candidate since a small faction of them ousted Kevin McCarthy on Oct. 3.

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That has left Congress unable to respond to crises in the Middle East and Ukraine, and consumed more than two weeks of the time they had allowed themselves to fund the government past Nov. 17, when a stopgap spending bill runs out.

Jordan, a close ally of former President Donald , could find his bid for speaker in more serious straits if more Republicans vote against him in a second ballot.

But McCarthy sounded a note of optimism for Jordan hours before the second vote.

"If he can hold his votes and the number goes up, I think he can get there," McCarthy told CNBC.

At least one Republican who voted against him on Tuesday, Representative Doug LaMalfa, said he would vote for Jordan on the second ballot.

Alternatives

New Republican alternatives aside from McHenry could also emerge if Jordan does not pick up support. Potential candidates include Representative Tom Emmer, currently the No. 3 House Republican.

Republicans control the House by a narrow 221-212 majority and can afford no more than four defections on controversial votes.

Democrats, meanwhile, have signaled support for empowering McHenry.

Jordan rejected the idea a bipartisan path forward, predicting that House Republicans would oppose "any type of coalition government with Democrats."

But House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries said on Tuesday that his members were not interested in a "power sharing" arrangement.

"We recognize that the Republicans temporarily hold the gavel. We respect that," Jeffries said. "Our objective is to reopen the House of Representatives."

Unlike previous House leaders, who gained influence by raising money and building broad coalitions, Jordan has made his name as a vocal leader of the party's hard right, tangling with Democrats and Republicans alike.

As a founder of the far-right House Freedom Caucus, the former wrestling coach helped drive Republican Speaker John Boehner into retirement in 2015 and advocated for government shutdowns in 2013 and 2018.

A congressional investigation found that Jordan was a "significant player" in Trump's efforts to overturn his 2020 election defeat.

As chair of the House Judiciary Committee, he has led investigations into Democratic President Joe Biden's administration and is a driving force in an impeachment inquiry into Biden that Democrats say is baseless.

Several of his Republican opponents have senior positions on the House Appropriations Committee, including panel chair Kay Granger. Democrats pointed to that fact as a sign of Republican concern for the deep spending cuts that Jordan and other hardliners have advocated this year.

Jordan's supporters say he would be an effective advocate for advancing conservative priorities in Washington, where Democrats control the White House and the Senate. — Reuters

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