(CTN News) – Hard-right congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio looks to win the gavel following the historic ouster of Republican Kevin McCarthy earlier this month in the House of Representatives.
House proceedings have been paralyzed for two weeks without a speaker. Despite many lawmakers of both parties stressing the urgent need for an aid package to Israel following the recent Hamas attacks, the House is unable to pass any legislation.
Elise Stefanik of New York, chair of the House Republican conference, formally nominated Jim Jordan and encouraged her colleagues to support him.
In her speech, Jim Jordan was praised as “an America First warrior who wins the toughest of fights” because of his past clashes with leadership and his staunch support of Donald Trump.
This is a time of great crisis across America, a time of historic challenges in this very chamber,” Stefanik said. “I am reminded of Esther’s words: ‘for such a time as this’. For such a time as this, Jim Jordan will be America’s speaker.”
Hakeem Jeffries was nominated to the speakership by Congressman Pete Aguilar, chair of the House Democratic caucus, who warned that Jordan’s ascension represented a dangerous surrender to extremism.
“To make the architect of the nationwide abortion ban, a vocal election denier, and an insurrection inciter the speaker of the House would send a terrible message to this country and our allies,” Aguilar said.
Due to opposition from hard-right lawmakers, House majority whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana had to drop out of the speakership race on Friday.
In his second attempt, Jordan beat fellow Republican Austin Scott of Georgia, who finished second to Scalise in the initial conference vote.
Despite capturing the nomination, Jordan fell far short of the 217 votes needed to win the speakership on Tuesday. More worrisome for Jim Jordan prospects, 55 House Republicans indicated on Friday that they would not support him after he won the nomination.
With the Republicans’ razor-thin majority in the House, Jordan can only afford four defections within the conference and still become speaker.
It remained unclear whether Jordan had convinced enough of his critics to become speaker before the floor vote at noon. Don Bacon of Nebraska and Mike Lawler, among others, insisted they would not support Jim Jordan.
“I’m not bending,” Bacon said on X, formerly known as Twitter. Five times I have served as a commander, and four times I have deployed to the Middle East. I will do what is best for the country.”
After Jordan met with some Republican holdouts who initially indicated they would not support him, he received a few key endorsements on Monday and Tuesday. Mike Rogers of Alabama, the Republican chair of the House armed services committee, and Ann Wagner of Missouri, a close ally of Scalise, both endorsed Jordan.
On Tuesday morning, Juan Ciscomani joined the list of Jim Jordan supporters, saying, “There is too much at stake to continue to stall.”
McCarthy expressed confidence in Jordan, suggesting he could win the speakership on the first ballot. For House Republicans, who had to cast 15 ballots to elect McCarthy in January, that would be a welcome change.
“I predict Jim will win this, even in the first round,” McCarthy said.
Despite an uncertain outcome, Jordan told reporters on Monday that he felt “really close” to capturing the nomination, and that Republicans would move forward with the floor vote.
There is no need to pressure anyone. We need a speaker,” Jordan said. “Without a speaker, the House can’t do the work of the American people or help our dearest and closest friend Israel.”
Despite the fact that even Jordan skeptics have rejected the proposal, insisting they would not consider collaborating with Democrats, Hakeem Jeffries, the Democratic leader of the House, has requested moderate Republican members to join Democrats to form a bipartisan coalition.
Wagner said in her statement released on Monday, “I will not work with Democrats as our Republican conference elects a conservative speaker of the House.”
In the event Jordan wins the speakership, Democrats will use his victory as evidence of the extremism that they claim has taken over the Republican party.
Democrats’ fundraising arm, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, has circulated a memo to members encouraging them to highlight Jordan’s legislative record, including his vote to overturn the 2020 election results.
“A Speaker Jordan means extremism and far-right priorities will govern the House of Representatives,” reads the memo. “Our caucus must make clear to voters just how extreme Congressman Jim Jordan is.”