The House of Representatives is finally expected to vote on a new speaker on Tuesday at noon after the chamber ousted its previous leader in a historic majority vote earlier this month.
Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, was chosen as Republicans’ candidate for speaker last week after a tumultuous few days in which Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., the initial speaker-designate last week, was forced to drop out of the race over growing public opposition.
And despite Republicans holding the House majority, it’s not immediately clear if Jordan can win on the first ballot.
‘We need to get a speaker tomorrow, the American people deserve to have their Congress, their House of Representatives, working,’ Jordan told reporters on Monday evening. ‘I felt good walking into the conference, I feel even better now.’
House Republicans met behind closed doors on Monday night, where Jordan made a last appeal to the holdouts against him.
He’ll need a simple majority to win the speaker’s gavel. But with House Republicans’ razor-thin margin and at least one expected absence, he can only lose three GOP votes to still clinch the speakership if all House Democrats are present.
As of Monday evening, at least two House Republicans – Reps. Mike Lawler, R-N.Y. and Carlos Gimenez, R-Fla. – have said they are committed to voting for ex-Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who was ousted by a vote of eight House Republicans and all House Democrats.
But Jordan Monday appeared to have substantially reduced the number of Republicans opposed to voting for him, chipping away significantly at the 55 Republicans who refused in a secret ballot vote last week to commit to backing him on the House floor.
Jordan became the Republican nominee after Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana withdrew amid signs he could not achieve a majority on the floor.
Jordan won over a key holdout when House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Ala., stunned political watchers on Monday morning when he said he’d back Jordan.
Rogers had strongly opposed Jordan as recently as Friday and had suggested late last week that Republicans may have to work with Democrats to find a new leader.
Meanwhile, Democrats tore into Jordan ahead of the vote, accusing Republicans of empowering an ‘extremist’ over his closeness to former President Donald Trump and objection to the 2020 election results.
‘Jim Jordan is not fit to serve as Speaker of the House,’ Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Ore., wrote on social media.
‘He is an extremist who led Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, forced government shutdowns, and attacked programs like Social Security and Medicare.’
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., meanwhile, called on moderate Republicans to break off from their conference and join a ‘bipartisan’ coalition.
‘The extremists have broken the House of Representatives. Only a bipartisan governing coalition can fix it,’ Jeffries said on Monday morning.