Republicans are planning to vote on whether Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) should be speaker of the House on Tuesday, although the lawmaker doesn’t appear to have the votes necessary to win.
A nominee must attain a majority of votes in the chamber from all members present in order to win the position of speaker of the House. Because two House seats are currently vacant, nominees must secure at least 217 votes to become speaker.
Republicans hold a slim majority of seats in the House, with 222 members belonging to the GOP. That means the preferred choice of Republicans can only afford to lose four votes, assuming that every Democrat in the chamber votes against them.
After Rep. Kevin McCarthy was ousted from the speakership earlier this month — the first time in history that a speaker of the House lost a motion to vacate vote — Rep. Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana), the current Majority Leader, became the party’s nominee to replace him. But Scalise unexpectedly dropped out late last week after it became clear he couldn’t win. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who originally ran against Scalise, won the nomination from his party soon afterward, with the Republican conference casting 152 votes in his favor and 55 votes against him.
Although Jordan is well below the threshold to win, he reportedly believes he’s making inroads with Republicans and will hold a vote on the speakership on Tuesday. According to sources with knowledge of his plans, he’s prepared to go through multiple ballots, if necessary, to win the speakership, apparently hoping to intimidate moderate Republicans into submission in order to win the job.
But opposition from within his own party may be stronger than he realizes. A senior Republican House member, speaking anonymously to CNN about the planned votes, believes there are at least 40 GOP members who are prepared to block Jordan as speaker, including at least 20 lawmakers whom he has spoken to personally.
“I know of many hard nos,” that individual said.
Meanwhile, Democrats are working behind the scenes to produce a bipartisan solution. According to Democratic House leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, Democrats won’t back Jordan in any circumstance, noting that the ardent supporter of former President Donald Trump is a “defender in a dangerous way of dysfunction, and an extremist extraordinaire.”
According to Jeffries, “informal conversations” on a bipartisan consensus candidate have been taking place.
Jeffries has made clear that Democrats are willing to compromise in order to secure Republican support for their plan.
“We are inherently reasonable about what we think can occur, but we just require Republican partners in order to do it,” he said last week.
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