House Republicans had quite the night on Tuesday as they scrambled to find a new nominee for speaker after their previous choice was ousted by hardline conservatives and the disapproval of former President Donald Trump. In a surprising turn of events, they came up with an interesting plan to resurrect ousted Speaker Kevin McCarthy and give him a sidekick: Rep. Jim Jordan, a conservative favorite from Ohio who lost his bid for the gavel last week.
According to sources, McCarthy’s plan involves him reclaiming the speaker’s gavel while Jordan, a staunch ally of Trump and a conservative firebrand, would serve as the assistant speaker. The proposal has already gained support from Rep. Max Miller of Ohio, who declared, “Kevin’s the guy. He still has the most support. How many guys in leadership do we have to kneecap?” However, not everyone is on board with this plan. Rep. Tim Burchett of Tennessee rejected it as “mad.”
Trump's scorn helps thwart latest GOP nominee in speaker's race; Mike Johnson leads field https://t.co/uTIzOpjJGk
— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) October 25, 2023
This chaos among Republicans has now left the House without a speaker for three long weeks. Just yesterday, Majority Whip Tom Emmer of Minnesota was the nominee but had to step down after it became clear that nearly two dozen conservative holdouts wouldn’t vote for him on the House floor. Now, the Republicans are left with five contenders: Mike Johnson of Louisiana, Byron Donalds of Florida, Chuck Fleischmann and Mark Green of Tennessee, and Roger Williams of Texas. Johnson, who placed second in the previous round of voting and is backed by many conservatives, seems to be the front-runner at this point.
The impact of the McCarthy-Jordan plan on the nomination vote remains uncertain, and it’s unclear if the House Republican Conference will even formally vote on the plan. However, lawmakers could cast their votes for the new nominee as early as tomorrow. The House has been stuck without a speaker since October 3rd when hardline conservatives used a rule to oust McCarthy. Multiple nominees have been elected by the GOP conference since then but have failed to secure enough GOP votes on the House floor.
This ongoing debacle has left McCarthy increasingly frustrated. He recognizes that with each passing day, a backlog of legislation, including critical spending bills for fiscal 2024 and aid for Israel against Hamas, is piling up on the back burner. McCarthy summed it up best when he called this situation a “cluster” and a mistake that has not only harmed the party but the entire nation. It remains to be seen how this messy situation will play out, but one thing is clear – the House desperately needs a speaker.