Jordan fails to win House speakership in second vote

By Mike Hayes, Shania Shelton and Jack Forrest, CNN

Updated 11:47 a.m. ET, October 19, 2023
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5:13 p.m. ET, October 18, 2023

Some House Republicans work to maximize party support for interim speaker resolution

From CNN's Manu Raju, Melanie Zanona and Annie Grayer

House Republican supporters of a resolution to temporarily empower interim Speaker Patrick McHenry are working to maximize GOP votes and educate members about the effort, multiple sources tell CNN. 

This comes as Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan’s allies have been actively trying to sink such a measure, deriding it as an abuse of power or an example of “coalition government.”

Because of the intraparty divisions, Democratic support would likely be needed to approve the measure. House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries told CNN earlier today that his caucus has not yet made a decision on whether they'd back such a temporary solution.

But GOP proponents of the resolution want to have as much Republican buy-in as possible before they bring it to the floor, in order to guard against accusations that it’s a Democratic solution to their speaker impasse.

Republican Rep. Dave Joyce of Ohio has been leading the charge over the effort. He was expected force a floor vote on a resolution as early as today but held off. After Jordan’s second failed floor vote for the speakership, Joyce told CNN he wants to have a meeting of the House GOP Conference to combat misinformation and make his case for the idea before his colleagues.

Joyce’s resolution, according to sources familiar with it, would empower McHenry until either early January or until a new permanent speaker is elected.

Empowering McHenry would expand his abilities beyond just administering a speaker vote to potentially moving legislation through the chamber, although the exact specifics aren't clear.

McHenry has been serving as interim speaker since Kevin McCarthy was ousted from the position earlier this month.

5:46 p.m. ET, October 18, 2023

Jordan says House will hold next speaker vote at noon ET Thursday

From CNN's Lauren Fox

Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, who lost a second vote for the speakership today, told CNN that the plan is for the House to gather again for a third speaker vote at noon ET Thursday.

Asked what he hoped to accomplish that he couldn't do today, Jordan said Republicans are going to keep working. He said the House needs a speaker. 

Pushed on whether that's going to be him at this point, the speaker designee said, "I believe so, yes."  

The GOP conference will not have a meeting tonight.

CNN's Melanie Zanona and Haley Talbot contributed reporting to this post.

4:23 p.m. ET, October 18, 2023

Jordan says he doesn't think House will hold third speaker vote tonight

From CNN's Lauren Fox

Rep. Jim Jordan confers with fellow Republicans including former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Wednesday.
Rep. Jim Jordan confers with fellow Republicans including former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Wednesday. Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters

Rep. Jim Jordan says he doesn't think there will be another floor vote tonight for House speaker, but the Ohio Republican is going to talk to interim Speaker Patrick McHenry about the schedule. 

Jordan, who lost a second floor vote for the speakership Wednesday, said "yes" when asked if he was going to stay in the race. He said the House has to get a speaker.

Asked whether a resolution that would empower McHenry should be brought up for a vote, Jordan said that would be a decision for the Republican Conference.

Empowering McHenry would expand his ability beyond just administering a speaker vote to potentially move legislation through the chamber, although the exact specifics aren't clear.

McHenry has been serving as interim speaker since Kevin McCarthy was ousted from the position earlier this month.

4:21 p.m. ET, October 18, 2023

House Democrats have not yet made a decision on resolution to empower McHenry

From CNN's Sam Fossum, Manu Raju and Clare Foran

Speaker of the House Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry presides prior to a second round of voting to elect a new Speaker of the House on the floor of the House of Representatives at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, on October 18.
Speaker of the House Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry presides prior to a second round of voting to elect a new Speaker of the House on the floor of the House of Representatives at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, on October 18. Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters

House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries told CNN on Wednesday that his caucus has not yet made a decision on whether to back a Republican resolution that would assert that interim House Speaker Patrick McHenry has legislative power overseeing the chamber floor on a temporary basis.

Jeffries said the first thing Democrats are aiming to achieve is to stop Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan's bid for the speakership.

The New York Democrat said that if Ohio Rep. Dave Joyce brings forward his resolution to empower McHenry and attempt to force a vote today, then Democrats would meet behind closed doors and decide whether to vote for it. Democratic votes are expected to be essential for the resolution's chances of passage because the GOP is split on such a measure. 

“We haven't had that discussion yet as a caucus,” Jeffries told CNN.

“Jim Jordan is still the speaker nominee. And our role is to protect a clear and present danger to our democracy and the poster child for MAGA extremism from becoming the speaker," Jeffries said.

"The Republicans have to end this saga, as opposed to us having another futile effort to elevate and insurrectionists to lead the House of Representatives,” he added.

House Minority Whip Katherine Clark, the No. 2 Democrat in the chamber, told CNN that Democrats hope Republicans will come to them after Jordan’s second failed speakership bid.

“The ball is in their court. This is their civil war. They’re the majority. They have to elect a speaker," Clark told CNN.

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also said that it’s up to Republicans to make the first move.

“They have their majority, they won the election. It's their responsibility to elect their speaker," the California Democrat said. "Our leader, Hakeem Jeffries, has been magnificent in saying there's a path for us to work together. But clearly they have not taken advantage of that."

Pelosi also called it a "real triumph for democracy" that Jordan lost the floor vote today.

“Really, it's a big relief that whatever his name is didn't win today, because it would have been a horrible thing. Two steps away from the presidency,” she told CNN. 
3:29 p.m. ET, October 18, 2023

Arkansas Republican says threats against those who voted against Jordan won't work

From CNN's Kristin Wilson

Rep. Steve Womack listens as fellow lawmakers cast their votes as the House of Representatives holds its second round of voting for a new Speaker of the House at the U.S. Capitol on October 18, 2023 in Washington, DC.
Rep. Steve Womack listens as fellow lawmakers cast their votes as the House of Representatives holds its second round of voting for a new Speaker of the House at the U.S. Capitol on October 18, 2023 in Washington, DC. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Arkansas Rep. Steve Womack derided what he referred to as the “attack, attack, attack” tactics of allies of Speaker designee Jim Jordan against those members who have voted against his speakership bid.

“Frankly, just based on what I've been through -- I can only speak to myself and what my staff has been through over the last 24 or 48 hours -- it is obvious what the strategy has been: Attack, attack attack. Attack the members who don't agree with you, attack them, beat them into submission,” Womack said Wednesday.

Womack has backed House Majority Leader Steve Scalise in the two rounds of voting for the speakership so far.

The seven-term congressman said there was a big difference between the 20 GOP members who were initially opposed to Kevin McCarthy during the January speakership vote and the 20 lawmakers — now 22 after the second round of voting — who are opposed to Jordan. It's that distinction that Womack believes will ultimately deny Jordan the speaker's gavel. 

“The 20 in January all wanted something. The 20 now, they don't want anything. And so the level of opposition is profound,” Womack said as he left the House floor Wednesday “It's one thing when you want something and you have a chance to get it and there's an opportunity for you to move. It's a whole different ballgame when you are opposed on principle and start being attacked. And I can speak to it, because I've been attacked.”

“And it has not helped one iota,” Womack said. “That won’t work with us. So ... if the whole battle plan was to attack them, give him time to expose those members and go after them, then it's an abject failure. They didn't read the room very well.”

3:25 p.m. ET, October 18, 2023

Interim Speaker McHenry continues to press forward for Jordan

From CNN's Kristin Wilson

Interim House Speaker Patrick McHenry said he remains “focused on getting our Speaker-designate across the floor and into the Speaker’s chair.”

He wouldn’t answer if he would accept the expanded powers that some Republicans are discussing possibly giving to the interim speaker.

McHenry said he’s not sure if there’s a conference meeting happening today. 

“We are working on that.”

3:16 p.m. ET, October 18, 2023

Jordan ally says he doesn't see Ohio Republican dropping out of speaker race

From CNN's Lauren Fox

Rep. Warren Davidson, center, speaks with Representative Scott Perry, left, and Representative Chip Roy, right, before a second round of voting for Speaker of the House begins, in the House Chamber, at the Capitol, in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, October 18. 
Rep. Warren Davidson, center, speaks with Representative Scott Perry, left, and Representative Chip Roy, right, before a second round of voting for Speaker of the House begins, in the House Chamber, at the Capitol, in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, October 18.  Graeme Sloan/Sipa USA/Reuters

Rep. Warren Davidson, an ally of fellow Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, said Wednesday after the GOP speaker nominee lost a second ballot for the speakership that Jordan shouldn't drop out of the race because, in his view, the people opposed to him don't have a problem with Jordan, they have issues with the events of the past two weeks. 

"It's not an objection to his plan to avoid an omnibus ... so you feel optimistic that since it's not that you're opposed to Jim, and it's not that you're opposed to the plan, that eventually you're gonna get there," Davidson said. 

"I can't see Jim dropping out, but, you know, we'll see what the best path forward is." 

Meanwhile, the House remains in a holding pattern, and Jordan has not said what his next step will be. 

3:01 p.m. ET, October 18, 2023

GOP member says he is open to empowering McHenry and spoke to Trump last night

From CNN's Lauren Fox and Haley Talbot

Rep. Troy Nehls speaks to reporters as he leaves a House Republican caucus meeting at the Capitol on October 12, 2023 in Washington, DC.
Rep. Troy Nehls speaks to reporters as he leaves a House Republican caucus meeting at the Capitol on October 12, 2023 in Washington, DC. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

GOP Rep. Troy Nehls said he spoke to former President Donald Trump last night but would not elaborate on what they discussed.

“We spoke … I talked to him last night. I am willing to hang with (Jim) Jordan but at some point in time we have to figure out what we are gonna do,” he said. 

Nehls suggested we “should bring (Trump) back to straighten out our conference.” 

He also said he would be open to expanding interim Speaker Patrick McHenry’s powers. 

“I support that,” he said of expanding McHenry’s powers in order to move legislation forward. 

Nehls voiced frustration with the divide in the conference. “People right now are dug in. How do you recover from that? What is the path forward?,” Nehls asked, while voicing his personal support for Jordan still. 

He said he has constituents telling him the GOP looks “confused and lost” as they try and navigate the battle for speaker. 

2:36 p.m. ET, October 18, 2023

Republican who voted against Jordan says he doesn't have a path forward

From CNN's Sam Fossum and Manu Raju

GOP Rep. Mike Lawler says he believes Jim Jordan has no path forward as Republicans remain divided over empowering interim speaker Patrick McHenry. 

“It’s clear he doesn’t have the votes. Obviously it’s up to him if he wants to put it to a third ballot, I think you’ll see more folks dropping off on a third ballot,” Lawler told CNN’s Manu Raju. “I don’t see the outcome changing here.” 

He added: “I think it’s imperative that we empower Patrick McHenry to serve at least for the time being in that speaker role so that he can get the House moving again.”

Lawler — who has voted against Jordan twice — also said he remains firm in his conviction that ousted speaker McCarthy should be the leader of the House and the Republican conference. 

“I continue to believe that Kevin McCarthy is the right person to lead this House. He never should have been removed as speaker,” he said. 

Lawler continued: “Democrats need to look in the mirror here. They helped create this mess so they’re going to have to help get out of it. So if a resolution is put on the floor to give Patrick the ability to serve as a temporary speaker it would be the height of hypocrisy to vote against it.” 

And when asked about how the current chaos could impact him in 2024 given that he comes from a swing district, Lawler was non-plussed. 

“I’ve been very clear where I stand on this … I’ve been willing to work on a bipartisan way to get things done on behalf of the American people and to advance the ball forward. We have a lot of challenges in this country. And it’s incumbent on everybody to act like an adult,” he said.