House GOP facing uncertain Speaker floor vote

House Republicans are barreling toward a floor vote on their Speaker nominee — Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) — this week, even as the Judiciary Committee chairman remains far from the 217 votes needed to win the gavel on the House floor.

Jordan clinched the nomination for Speaker in a 124-81 vote Friday, beating his last-minute challenger, Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.). But when the conference members were asked if they would support Jordan’s nomination on the floor, the vote was 152-55 — leaving Jordan well short of the 217 votes needed to win the Speakership on the House floor.

The planned vote Tuesday is setting the stage for another public clash over the gavel, similar to the four-day, 15-ballot election that former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) went through in January.

Some Jordan backers are hoping that bringing his nomination to the floor — and forcing Republicans on the record — will increase the Ohio Republican’s support and put him within reach of the gavel. Jordan will be up against House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), whom Democrats unanimously nominated to be Speaker.

On Wednesday, all senators will receive a briefing on the situation in Israel and Gaza, after Hamas launched an attack on Israel earlier this month.

The office of House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) advised members Sunday that the first floor votes of the week are expected at noon Tuesday — despite Jordan having fallen short last week of the 217 votes needed to win the Speakership on the floor.

Some Republicans had aimed to ensure that the conference had enough support behind their Speaker nominee before a floor vote in order to avoid another public, drawn-out floor fight like McCarthy — now ousted from the post — endured in January.

But the conference rejected internal proposals to require 217 votes for nomination, and last week, it saw its first Speaker nominee, Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.), drop out a day after getting the nomination, when it became clear that holdouts would not give him the support he needed to win on the House floor.

Now, hard-line GOP supporters of Jordan say the House should move on to a floor vote without delay — and some have been urging voters to call their congressmen to support Jordan. 

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that while he is supporting Jordan, the “high-pressure campaign” is the “dumbest way” to get people to support Jordan.

“And as somebody who wants Jim Jordan, the dumbest thing you can do is to continue pissing off those people and entrench them,” Crenshaw said.

There is some bad blood and hurt feelings in the GOP conference over Scalise not getting swift universal support last week. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), who had been whipping votes for Scalise, pointed to Jordan’s hard-line conservative allies withholding support for Scalise despite Jordan’s public endorsement last week as a reason to not support him.

“If you can’t get your own people to follow you, on a very simple thing like this, then I think you have an issue of leadership,” Diaz-Balart said.

Politico reported Sunday night that a group of House Republicans who do not support Jordan are vowing to have a challenger up against the Judiciary Committee chairman Tuesday, which they say will deny Jordan the gavel.

The House GOP conference is scheduled to meet behind closed doors at 6:30 p.m. Monday.

Supporters of Jordan are aware of the reality that the Ohio Republican, as things currently stand, does not have the votes to win the gavel on the House floor. But they are hopeful that work over the weekend will help get him to the subsequent 217 votes needed.

McCarthy told Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures” that Jordan has been speaking with holdouts to try and get them on board.

“As we walked away, he did not,” McCarhy said when asked if Jordan had the votes Sunday morning. “But that’s why we have time, walking away this weekend. I talked to Jim last night. He’s talking to every single member, assessing what their challenges are.”

“I think Jim Jordan can get the — can get the votes,” he later added.

But some members are already eying other nominees if Jordan, like Scalise, cannot secure the votes — or even options such as empowering Speaker Pro Tem Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) to move legislation or cutting a deal with Democrats to pick a Speaker.

“I think he’ll be able to get to 217. If not, we have other leaders in the House. And certainly, if there is a need if the radical, you know, almost just handful of people in the Republican side, make it unable … to be able to return to general work on the House, then I think obviously, there will be a deal [that] will have to be done,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner (R-Ohio) said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Potential next-round GOP candidates include Republican Study Committee Chairman Kevin Hern (Okla.), or House Republican Conference Vice Chairman Mike Johnson (La.) — who is supporting Jordan but has been getting calls from colleagues about a Speaker bid if Jordan cannot win. But McCarthy shot down those two names.

“I don’t — I don’t think either of them could — would come very short,” McCarthy told “Sunday Morning Futures” when asked about Hern and Johnson.

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