Jordan Vows to Press On in Quest for Speakership
WASHINGTON — A determined Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, vowed Friday to continue his quest to be the next House speaker, telling reporters gathered in the Rayburn Room of the U.S. Capitol Friday morning that a third vote was imminent and additional ballots, if necessary, could extend into the weekend.
In brief remarks before taking a few questions, Jordan opened by speaking of the Wright Brothers, Ohio natives as well as aviation pioneers, and how the nation went from their short flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in 1903 to landing a man on the moon in 1969.
“In 66 years, one lifetime, we went from two guys flying 100 feet to putting a man on the moon,” he said. “It is a great country — the greatest country in my judgment — made up of great people, and right now, those people, I think, are starting to doubt and wonder about their government and about where our nation is headed.
“They see a government that’s been weaponized against we the people … the very government that is supposed to serve us has been turned on the taxpayers who pay for it,” Jordan continued.
“I think the American people are thirsty for change. I think they are hungry for leadership. And frankly, they know that the White House can’t provide it. They know the Senate won’t lead. And they are looking for House Republicans to step up and lead and make change.”
As cognizant as anybody that the House of Representatives has now been effectively closed for business for 18 days, Jordan said, “We’ve got important work to do.
“We need to help Israel. We need to get the appropriations process moving so that the key elements of our government are funded and funded in the right way, particularly our military,” he said. “We need to get back to our committee work. And frankly, we need to continue the oversight work that I think is so darn important.
“In short, we need to get to work for the American people. We need to do what we said we were going to do. We need to do what we told them we were going to do when they elected us and put us in office and, frankly, we can’t do that if the House isn’t open. And we can’t open the House until we elect a new speaker.”
Jordan’s remarks came after a heated, closed-door meeting late Thursday afternoon with Republican holdouts who remain staunchly opposed to his nomination. In that context, this could be seen as a last-ditch campaign speech given just hours before the House is expected to return to the floor to resume voting.
Though he implied there could be multiple votes on Friday and through the weekend, Jordan, chair of the House Judiciary Committee and co-founder of the House Freedom Caucus, did not directly answer reporters’ questions on whether he intended to “grind it out” until, presumably, resistance to his candidacy collapses.
During the meeting on Thursday, which was also attended by former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Speaker Pro Tem Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., each of the holdouts told Jordan they will not support him for speaker under any circumstances.
After the meeting, a number of Republican lawmakers said the situation could be even worse if Jordan’s nomination came to the floor again today, suggesting he could lose another 30 votes in the conference.
On Friday morning, however, Jordan was undeterred by such talk.
“You all said we were going to lose 10 to 15 votes between the first and second vote, and the vote, essentially, stayed the same,” he told the reporters gathered with him.
“We picked up a few, we lost a few … and frankly, I think the ones we lost can come back,” Jordan continued. “So look, there have been multiple rounds of votes for speaker before. We all know that. I just know that we need to get a speaker as soon as possible so we can get to work for American people.”
After Thursday’s meeting, Rep. Mike Lawler, R-N.Y., one of the holdouts, put out a lengthy statement calling on his colleagues in the Republican conference to either reinstate McCarthy or to expand the powers of McHenry.
“The decision two weeks ago by a small handful of Republicans to join with Hakeem Jeffries and 208 Democrats to remove Kevin McCarthy as speaker was foolish and irresponsible,” Lawler said. “While everyone in our conference is entitled to have their voice heard, we should never have allowed 3% of our members to drag the other 97% into this ditch.
“No political organization can function that way. It’s not healthy or rational,” he said.
“While we have many talented members in our conference, it is my sincere belief that Kevin McCarthy is still the only person capable of leading our conference forward and, equally as important, he is currently the only member of our conference capable of winning the 217 votes needed to be speaker,” Lawler said. “No, Kevin isn’t perfect, but none of us are. If perfection is our standard, expect to be disappointed.
“The best thing that could happen now — for our conference, the House of Representatives, and the country — is for cooler heads to prevail, past grievances to be dropped, and for Republicans to concede that ousting Kevin was a mistake and set things right,” he added.
Lawler then went on to say that in the absence of an immediate resolution, “We must empower Speaker Pro-Tempore Patrick McHenry to serve as speaker temporarily to allow us to get back to work, and move important legislation, while we settle on a permanent speaker.”
The congressman then closed by quoting, of all things, one of the nation’s most famous Democrats, the late New York City Mayor Ed Koch.
Lawler noted Koch once said, “‘If you agree with me on nine out of 12 issues, vote for me. If you agree with me on 12 out of 12 issues, see a psychiatrist.’
“While it was said in jest, he was right,” Lawler said. “I don’t expect you to agree with me 100% of the time and I can’t promise to agree with you all the time either. But what I can promise is that I will always do my best to represent you and your families, and act in the best interest of my district and our country.”
Rep. Carlos Gimenez, R-Fla., another holdout, said on Thursday that he would support empowering McHenry through January to get the House moving again, a proposal that was quickly shot down by his more conservative colleagues in the conference.
“It’s been over two weeks since the Gang of 8 [a reference to House Freedom Caucus members] joined all the socialists in Congress to remove our Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy. We cannot continue with this chaos,” Gimenez said in a post on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.
On Wednesday, Rep. John Rutherford, R-Fla., released a statement making his feelings known on a possible third vote for speaker. After Thursday’s meeting, his feelings hadn’t changed.
“We’ve had two rounds of floor votes, and the vote against Jim Jordan has only gotten stronger. The hardball tactics haven’t worked,” Rutherford said. “If we move to a third round, we already know the opposition is on track to grow. It’s time for Jordan to understand this race is over.
“Jordan is fiddling while the world is on fire. It’s time to get down to business and select a consensus candidate who can bring the Republican conference together,” Rutherford said.