Jim Jordan Concedes Speaker Election—For Now—Backing More Power for Patrick McHenry

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) speaks during a live television broadcast on Capitol Hill, December 4, 2017 in Washington, D.C.

(Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Jim Jordan Concedes Speaker Election—For Now—Backing More Power for Patrick McHenry

Republicans will hold an internal vote Thursday on whether to empower Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), but some allies of Jordan indicated they would oppose the move.

Far-right U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, confronting two failed attempts to garner the support needed to be elected speaker of the House, intends to back a plan to empower Rep. Patrick McHenry—named speaker pro tempore earlier this month—to act as a temporary speaker until at least January 3, according to new reporting on Thursday.

The House held two votes for House speaker on Tuesday and Wednesday, with House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) securing the support of all 212 Democrats—putting him just five votes away from the leadership position—and Jordan losing support from the first vote to the second. Twenty of his Republican colleagues opposed his bid on Tuesday and 22 voted against him the following day.

The Ohio Republican, a close ally of former President Donald Trump and a key player in efforts to challenge the 2020 presidential election, will attempt to build support for the remainder of the year if the party moves forward with the plan to empower McHenry (R-N.C.), who currently has no authority to conduct legislative business.

Jordan and allies who want to see him leading House Republicans have been accused of using "bullying" tactics in his effort to secure votes. The wife of Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) received messages threatening her husband's political career and accusing him of causing "chaos" and failing to be "a team player" after Bacon voted against Jordan.

Fox Newsinterviews with Jordan opponents have had a similar tenor, while Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa) reported receiving "credible death threats and a barrage of threatening calls" and Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-Ga.) said he and his family got similar threats.

Republicans planned to hold an internal vote on whether to empower McHenry, the House Financial Services Committee chair and a close ally of ousted House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), on Thursday afternoon.

Jeffries told reporters that he and other Democrats are also considering backing McHenry, saying the party wants to "stop Jim Jordan, who is a clear and present danger to our democracy."

The minority leader told members of the party that they should only support elevating a temporary speaker if they voted to certify the 2020 election, have a record of "standing up to extremism" and "governing," and supported the debt ceiling deal reached by the Biden administration and McCarthy in May, which was condemned by progressives as it scaled back food and housing aid, educational funding, and an Internal Revenue Service budget increase meant to stop tax evasion by the wealthiest Americans.

Progressive strategist Sawyer Hackett cautioned against some suggestions that McHenry would lead the party as a so-called "moderate."

"Let's be crystal clear: Patrick McHenry is only moderate in contrast to Jim Jordan," said Lisa Gilbert, executive vice president of consumer advocacy group Public Citizen. "He's tightly interwoven with the biggest banks—from pushing to undercut tougher capital standards to critiquing the [Securities and Exchange Commission]."

"His loyalty lies with corporate America," Gilbert said. "Not with the American people."

Far-right Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who led the effort to push McCarthy out of the speakership earlier this month and supported Jordan's bid, indicated he would not back the plan to empower McHenry.

Another Jordan ally, Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), said the move would effectively "give the Democrats control of a Republican majority."

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