Washington: Refusing to drop out, Republican Rep. Jim Jordan has brought the House speaker’s race to a stalemate — the hard-fighting ally of Donald Trump has been unable to win the gavel but he and his far-right allies won’t step aside for a more viable GOP nominee.
But there’s a sinking realization that the House could remain endlessly stuck, out of service and without a leader for the foreseeable future as the Republican majority spirals deeper into dysfunction. The impasse has left some Republican lawmakers settling in for a protracted stretch without a House speaker.
“I think clearly Nov. 17 is a real date,” said Rep. Kevin Hern, R-Okla., who leads a large conservative caucus, referring to the next deadline for Congress to approve funding or risk a federal government shutdown.
Next steps were highly uncertain as angry, frustrated Republicans looked at other options. A bipartisan group of lawmakers floated an extraordinary plan — to give the interim speaker pro tempore, Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., more power to reopen the immobilized House and temporarily conduct routine business. But that seems doubtful, for now.
On Wednesday, Jordan failed in a crucial second ballot, opposed by 22 Republicans, two more than he lost in first-round voting the day before. Many view the Ohio congressman as too extreme for a central seat of U.S. power and resented the harassing hardball tactics from Jordan’s allies for their votes. One lawmaker said they had received death threats.