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Plan B Gaining Ground After House GOP Fails to Elect Jordan as Speaker

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Tuesday’s failed vote to elect House Speaker Jim Jordan pro tempore has reportedly sparked discussion regarding the formal election of North Carolina Representative Patrick McHenry as an alternative candidate for the position.

McHenry is currently the designated interim speaker, but Politico reports that he lacks the authority to advance legislation through the House.

On Tuesday, McHenry presided over the speaker election, which was won by House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries with 212 votes, Jordan with 200 votes, and a combined 20 ballots for former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and House Majority Leader Steve Scalise.

In this case, a majority of the 217 voting members in attendance was required for a speaker to be elected.

For Jordan to secure victory, he needed to accumulate an extra 17 votes.

A second vote is scheduled for Wednesday at 11 a.m. Eastern Time, according to The Hill.

Politico reported, “Centrist Republicans and Democrats are once again backchanneling about a possible vote to strengthen McHenry’s abilities to bring legislation to the floor — particularly spending bills, given a Nov. 17 funding deadline — amid the weeks-long impasse in selecting a speaker.”

“They’re pushing a short-term measure that would grant McHenry added powers and could pass the House by majority vote, though they have not coalesced around specific language,” the news outlet added.

Rep. Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania, a Republican from Pennsylvania who voted against Jordan’s bid for speaker, introduced a resolution to elect McHenry pro tempore as speaker.

In a Monday letter to his GOP House colleagues, he wrote, “By formally electing him, we as a body give him the power to move legislation to the floor for consideration.”

As per the resolution, his term would conclude on November 17, 2023, the government funding deadline, or until an alternative speaker is elected, whichever occurs first.

According to House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, his opinion of McHenry is favorable.

“Our focus right now relates not just to any one individual, but to getting the institution reopened. I have respect for Patrick McHenry. I think he is respected on our side of the aisle,” Jeffries said.

He added, “There are a whole host of other Republicans who are respected on all sides of the aisle. Jim Jordan is not one of them.”

Theoretically, Democrats could elect McHenry speaker pro tempore by siding with a handful of centrist Republicans, just as they voted with Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida and the other seven Republican House members to remove McCarthy from office.

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