Democrats in Congress aren’t ruling out working with moderate Republicans to reach a deal that prevents Rep. Jim Jordan from becoming the next Speaker of the House.
Republicans are scrambling to pick the next House leader after conservative hardliners ousted former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy over a short-term government funding deal he negotiated with Democrats in early October, plunging the House into chaos.
Rep. Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican and MAGA favorite, failed to garner enough support from the GOP’s moderate wing to win a vote in the House on Tuesday night.
The situation has raised questions about Republicans’ ability to unite behind a single candidate as Congress faces a Nov. 17 deadline to pass a series of budget bills to avert a government shutdown that would affect millions of Americans. as well as pressure to pass new laws and aid bills for Ukraine and Israel.
Some lawmakers have floated the idea of a temporary agreement to expand the powers of Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry, a North Carolina Republican, to pass key priorities in the coming months — and the idea appears to be popular with both Democrats and to be supported by Republicans.
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, a New York Democrat, declined to rule out the idea when asked Tuesday night about the possibility of supporting McHenry.
“Our focus right now is not just on one individual, but on reopening the institution. I respect Patrick McHenry. I think he is respected on our side. There are a whole bunch of other Republicans who are respected.” “Our side of the aisle. Jim Jordan is not one of them,” Jeffries told CNN.
Newsweek I emailed Jeffries’ office for comment.
Even if Congress appoints McHenry to a temporary position, the GOP’s internal divisions as well as those between Democrats and Republicans would still make it difficult for Congress to pass budget legislation, said Grant Reeher, a political science professor at Syracuse University Newsweek on Tuesday.
“However, shutting down the government is likely to have greater political costs than taking several weeks to agree on a speaker, so the incentives to act could be stronger. “If that happens, I would look for a different set of temporary, ongoing solutions that deal with the assumption (hope) that more permanent funding decisions will be made once a speaker is named,” Reeher said.
Moderate Democrats and Republicans are pushing for a temporary speaker solution
Several moderate Democrats have joined calls to make McHenry interim leader. Rep. Wiley Nickel, a North Carolina Democrat, warned in a statement released Saturday that Congress can no longer wait for Republicans to get their House in order.
“I support this proposal to give Speaker Pro Tempore McHenry temporary, expanded authority to allow Congress to support our allies in Israel and Ukraine, extend current short-term government funding while full-year appropriations bills are prepared, and bipartisan suspension legislation on the House floor,” Nickel wrote.
Meanwhile, the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of centrist Democrats in the House of Representatives, also called on Congress on Friday to authorize McHenry.
“This is a time for courage and creativity from members of both parties and a time for civic-minded Americans to put aside their cynicism and pessimism about what is possible in the People’s House. A stable, bipartisan governing agreement is the most viable path.” “After nine months of instability and the last ten days of chaos, he is a trailblazer for the U.S. House of Representatives. Things can get better if we start working together,” the group wrote in a statement.
Several Republicans have repeated similar calls for a temporary bipartisan agreement, with some members of Congress discussing the possibility of a longer-term agreement.
Rep. Ken Buck, a Colorado Republican who voted against Jordan, said McHenry was a “logical decision” to appoint a 30-day speaker.
“Undoubtedly we would give him full power so that if there is an Israeli package, a supplemental spending package that comes from the White House, we would have the opportunity to vote on that, on aid to Ukraine and other pressing issues. Not about emergencies,” but urgent. I think there are other things we need to do as far as spending and making sure we keep the government open,” he said.
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, a Florida Republican who also opposed Jordan, spoke in favor of the idea Wednesday morning, Max Cohen of Punchbowl News reported.
“There is agreement that in the meantime we need a process to move forward with legislation to get the derailed conservative agenda back on track,” he said.