| 4 December 2023, Monday |

Republican Jim Jordan loses third US House vote as opposition grows

Hardline conservative Republican Jim Jordan on Friday lost a third vote to become speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, leaving the leaderless chamber unable to respond to President Joe Biden’s request for aid to Ukraine and Israel.

Opposition to his candidacy from within his party grew, with 25 Republican lawmakers voting against him, more than the 22 who had opposed in the second round on Wednesday. Jordan received 194 votes, well short of the 214 he needed to claim the speaker’s gavel.

Now ending its third workweek without a leader, the House cannot act on a $106 billion national-security package unveiled by Biden on Friday that would bolster U.S. border security and send billions to Israel and Ukraine.

It was not clear whether Jordan would abandon his leadership bid or press ahead with more votes.

“Jim is a good man. But you know, when the votes aren’t there, the votes aren’t there,” said Republican Representative Greg Murphy, a Jordan supporter.

Republicans were due to consider their options at a private meeting following the vote.

A close ally of Donald Trump, Jordan was a “significant player” in the former president’s attempts to overturn Biden’s 2020 election win, according to a congressional investigation.

“I think there were all kinds of problems with the 2020 election, and I’ve been clear about that,” he said at a news conference before the vote.

The narrow and fractious Republican majority has failed to unite behind Jordan or any other candidate to replace Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who was ousted by a handful of party members on Oct. 3. They also have been unable to agree on a fallback plan that would let the chamber take up legislation.

Republicans control the chamber by a narrow 221-212 majority, though some members were absent from Friday’s voting.

Jordan’s vote total was less than McCarthy netted in 15 grueling rounds of voting in January.

Nevertheless, some of Jordan’s supporters said he should keep trying. “We believe that if we keep voting, Jim Jordan will be elected speaker,” said Republican Representative Bob Good.


Jordan’s bare-knuckle approach seems to have worked against him, as some of his Republican opponents have been outraged by harassing phone calls and death threats.

Jordan’s allies say that should not matter. “All of us in Congress receive death threats. I don’t know if that’s a newsflash for anybody here,” Republican Representative Scott Perry said.

Democrats describe Jordan as a dangerous extremist and have unanimously voted against him.

“Their nominee’s vision is a direct attack on the freedom and the rights of the American people, and he’s got the record to prove it,” Democratic Representative Katherine Clark said on the House floor.

It is unclear whether Republicans will be able to unite behind any other candidates possible candidates if Jordan drops out.

Republican Representative Jodey Arrington, who has been floated as an alternative, said he was backing Jordan for now. “As long as he’s in the race, we’re going to get him there,” he told reporters.

Republicans also are divided on a backup option that could allow the chamber to address Biden’s aid package and other pressing matters, like spending legislation that would allow the U.S. government to keep functioning beyond a Nov. 17 deadline.

That plan would give more authority to Republican Representative Patrick McHenry, who is filling the speaker’s chair on a temporary basis. House Democrats and the White House have said they are open to the idea, but Republicans rejected it on Thursday.


Biden urged Republicans to resolve their differences in a televised speech on Thursday. “You can’t let petty, partisan, angry politics get in the way of our responsibilities as a great nation,” he said.

Investors say the turmoil on Capitol Hill is also contributing to market volatility.

Jordan has built his reputation as a leader of that uncompromising right flank. His backers say that would make him an effective fighter for conservative policies in a town where Democrats control the Senate and the White House.

“He is straightforward, honest and reliable,” McCarthy said on the House floor.

He helped to engineer government shutdowns in 2013 and 2018 and helped to push Republican Speaker John Boehner into retirement in 2015.

  • Reuters