CSPAN video reports that Republican Representative Jim Jordan has abandoned the notion of a provisional promotion for Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry in favor of announcing that a third ballot will be conducted for the speakership.
Speaking very briefly to reporters, Jordan said, “We made the pitch to members on the resolution [to empower McHenry] as a way to lower the temperature and get back to work.
“We decided that wasn’t where we were going to go,” he added in the video, posted by Benny Johnson to X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.
“I’m still running for speaker, and I plan to go to the floor and get the votes and win this race, but I want to talk with a few of my colleagues.”
“Particularly, I want to talk with the 20 individuals who voted against me so that we can move forward and begin to work for the American people,” he concluded as he began to walk away from the microphones.
🚨 BREAKING: Jim Jordan: “I'm still running for speaker and I plan to go to the floor and get the votes and win this race, but I want to go talk to a few of my colleagues..”
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) October 19, 2023
Jordan did not respond when a reporter inquired whether the third ballot would be conducted today as he was leaving. Nick Sortor reported to X that Rep. Matt Gaetz, who was nominated by former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, anticipated that ballot on Thursday evening.
Gaetz had described Jordan’s earlier support for certain Republican House members’ effort to pass a “constitutional desecration” as “constitutional desecration.”
According to The Hill, after failing to receive sufficient votes to become speaker of the House on a second ballot, Jordan endorsed the notion of temporarily expanding McHenry’s authority to allow some House business to continue until a successor is elected.
On Thursday afternoon, the likelihood of such a resolution passing the House was completely uncertain. However, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, a Republican from Pennsylvania, stated on Thursday morning that members of the House entered the second ballot with the knowledge that the ultimate result would be granting McHenry temporary authority as what Rep. Matt Gaetz later termed “speaker-lite.”
Prediction from Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick to me this morning: "We all know where this always was going to land, with Speaker Pro Tem McHenry being empowered on a short term basis." He guessed this would happen in "the next 48 hours."
The Republican conference meets again at 11.
— Grace Segers (@Grace_Segers) October 19, 2023
The proposal that was presumably being deliberated, and which Fitzpatrick deemed inevitable, was to grant McHenry temporary authority similar to that of a regularly elected speaker, but only until January 31st.
He would also not be in the line of succession to the presidency, as is customary for speakers.
A number of House Republicans, including Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, immediately expressed their opposition to the notion.
Greene wrote “Our conference must unite and elect a full-term Republican Speaker,” in a post to X, expressing her support for Jordan.
I will vote NO on a resolution to empower a short-term Speaker.
I’m not sharing our power with Democrats, after our voters gave us the majority.
Republicans working with Democrats is how we got here.
Our conference must unite and elect a full-term Republican Speaker.
— Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene🇺🇸 (@RepMTG) October 19, 2023
Greene’s statement “Republicans working with Democrats is how we got here” did not specify whether she was alluding to McCarthy’s negotiations with the Biden White House and House Democrats or to Gaetz and seven other House Republicans agreeing to support the entire House Democratic caucus in their effort to remove the former speaker.
Republican Reps. Tim Burchett, Pat Fallon, Scott Perry, and Chip Roy were also unequivocally opposed to any form of limited speakership for McHenry, according to The Hill.
The most vehement opposition may have been expressed by Gaetz, the individual responsible for instigating the entire situation.
“I’m against speaker-lite,” Gaetz told a reporter when asked about granting McHenry additional powers. “I’m against Bud Lite. I believe it is a constitutional desecration to not elect a speaker of the House. We need to stay here until we elect a speaker.”
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) on resolution to empower Speaker Pro Tempore McHenry: “I am against speaker-light, I am against Bud Light, I believe it is a constitutional desecration not to elect a speaker of the House” and continued to say he would do anything in his power to stop it. pic.twitter.com/qd8smDIWuZ
— CSPAN (@cspan) October 19, 2023
Given that a minimum of six Republicans expressed dissent towards the proposal, the Republicans could have secured 215 ballots if all other caucus members had endorsed it. Therefore, it is probable that they would have been required to negotiate for Democratic votes in order to accomplish that.
In order to empower a “speaker-lite,” Jordan never specified what he would be prepared to offer Democrats in exchange for their votes. Furthermore, he had never withdrawn from a race. At this time, the Ohio Republican continues to serve as the party’s designated speaker.