After having said he would suspend his quest to become speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep Jim Jordan (R-OH) reversed and announced that he would call for a third vote on Friday.
Mr Jordan delivered a defiant press conference where he compared his bid for speaker to the span of time that it took from the Wright Brothers’ first flight to the moon landing in 1969.
The co-founder of the House Freedom Caucus, who previously ground the House of Representatives to a halt when he helped shut down the government in 2013 and who played a key role in former president Donald Trump’s scheme to overturn the 2020 presidential presidential election results, spoke about the need to resume the business of governing.
“The quickest way to get all this working is to get a speaker elected,” he said. “That's what I hope we can do today.”
Mr Jordan brushed off the fact that he failed to receive the necesary votes to become speaker after votes on Tuesday and Wednesday. In the second vote, his number of supporters slipped slightly.
He tried to downplay the losses. “You all said we're gonna lose 10 to 15 votes,” he said. “It stayed the same. We picked up a few, we lost a few. I think the ones we lost can come back.”
The media gaggle came after Mr Jordan had an evening bull session with many of the Republicans who opposed his bid, several of who have expressed displeasure at the fact that a handful of hard-right conservatives voted to eject former speaker Kevin McCarthy and blocked House Majority Leader Steve Scalise from becoming speaker.
However, Rep Scott Perry, the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, told reporters that Mr Jordan should continue holding runoffs until he could win the requisite 217 votes to earn the gavel. “Because they're going to come around,” he told reporters.
Mr Jordan’s words come as the House enters its seventeenth day without a speaker. Last month, the House passed a continuing resolution to keep the government open until 17 November rather than face a shutdown. House Republicans hope to pass 12 individual spending bills instead of one large spending package. In addition, Congress hopes to pass an aid package to Israel while many Republicans and most Democrats hope to pass one for Ukraine.
“We need to help Israel,” he said. “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. 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.”
But Mr Jordan faces considerable opposition. On Wednesday, 21 of the 221 House Republicans voted against his bid for speaker whereas Democrats unanimously nominated House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries.
Mr Jordan’s allies insisted that he would eventually win the speakership the way Mr McCarthy did after 15 rounds in January after 20 Republicans initially opposed his bid.
“I was one of the 20, it looked exactly the same way,” Rep Keith Self of Texas told The Independent. “Eventually people will come around to the fact that Jim Jordan is the best candidate for the speaker of the House.”
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