Jim Jordan loses second vote for US House Speaker

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The US House of Representatives remained without a Speaker late Wednesday, after Jim Jordan failed in his second attempt to seize the gavel in the face of opposition from 22 members of his own party.

That was a worse result for the firebrand Republican than just a day earlier, when 20 fellow Republicans voted against him in an initial ballot.

But Jordan appeared unwilling to throw in the towel, even as doubts mounted over whether he — or anyone else — would be able to unite the fractious House Republican conference and break the stalemate that has gripped Washington and rendered Congress impotent.

Jordan told reporters on Capitol Hill on Wednesday afternoon that no further votes were expected that day. Another ballot to try and elect a Speaker is now not expected until Thursday afternoon, at the earliest.

Jordan, a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus and ally of former president Donald Trump, is vying to become Speaker of the House more than two weeks after Kevin McCarthy was ousted at the hands of eight members of the Republican party.

McCarthy’s removal exposed sharp divisions among House Republicans and left the lower chamber of Congress rudderless, unable to deal with legislation until a new Speaker is elected.

The impasse has created a leadership vacuum on Capitol Hill at a time when Congress is running out of time to avert another costly government shutdown next month, and under mounting pressure to underwrite more aid to Israel and Ukraine.

But Jordan faces an increasingly uphill battle if he is going to secure enough votes required. Any Speaker needs to be elected by a simple majority of the House. Yet Democrats have ruled out backing Jordan, calling him an “extremist extraordinaire”.

Because Republicans control the chamber by a razor-thin margin, Jordan can only afford to lose a handful of votes from his own party.

Many of his Republican critics, however, have appeared immovable in their opposition. Some have taken issue with Jordan’s pugilistic attitude and his allies’ aggressive attempts to intimidate them into backing his bid for the speakership. Others object to his unwavering support for Trump, including his failure to acknowledge that Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election.

Jordan and his allies have repeatedly suggested he would be willing to endure several rounds of voting in his effort to become Speaker. It took 15 rounds of voting to elect McCarthy in January.

But others have called on Jordan to step aside and allow yet another Republican to attempt to unite the fractious party. Some Republicans, including Dave Joyce, a congressman from Ohio, have suggested endowing Patrick McHenry, the acting Speaker who is overseeing the election process, with more powers so that Congress can push ahead with legislation in the absence of a permanent leader.

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