McHenry Could Become Temporary Speaker as House GOP Infighting Continues
The House of Representatives is moving towards empowering Representative Ken McHenry to serve as temporary speaker, as the Republican Party continues to struggle to find a permanent leader. McHenry is currently the Speaker Pro Tempore, the third-ranking Republican in the House.
The move to empower McHenry is seen as an attempt to stabilize the Republican leadership and to avoid further chaos. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), the GOP nominee, lost House floor votes on Tuesday and Wednesday with at least 20 Republican defectors voting for other people in the party in each ballot. Jordan remains in the race.
After a meeting with party leaders on Thursday, Jordan decided to support McHenry as interim speaker until January. This would give Jordan time to attempt to solidify support for his candidacy.
Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) got more votes than Jordan in both ballots but he didn’t get a chamber-wide majority to win the gavel. He has challenged for a “bipartisan path forward” but has yet to comment directly on a bid to empower McHenry.
Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) said such a move is “about continuing the work of the American people while we select a new speaker.” He is one of the Republicans who resisted Jordan’s candidacy in both ballots this week and, along with Rep. David Joyce (R-OH), has been floating a resolution to empower McHenry.
“There is no path for a GOP-only empowerment of a Speaker Pro-Tem so it will necessarily require Democrat votes,” Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) said in a post to X.
“It is, in any event, a fool’s errand – breaking with tradition & setting constitutionally questionable precedent to empower someone … who is NOT the duly elected Speaker but will be empowered to negotiate a [continuing resolution] & massive supplemental bills (approx. $100BB) for Israel & Ukraine (& $ to process more illegals),” he added. “It will then set the [House Republicans] up for a Xmas omni ‘deal.’ I strongly oppose.”
Ahead of gaveling the House into session at noon, McHenry told reporters that his “goal is to get Jim Jordan elected speaker as our speaker nominee.”