After a series of setbacks, Republicans ended the week no closer to electing a new speaker as deep internal divisions have left the conference struggling to govern and the House in a state of paralysis.
The chaos within House GOP ranks intensified dramatically over the past several days as the conference has tried and so far failed to find a viable successor to Kevin McCarthy following his unprecedented ouster at the hands of a small faction of hardline conservatives.
Rep. Jim Jordan is the new GOP speaker nominee following Majority Leader Steve Scalise’s exit from the race. But the Ohio Republican faces the same kind of grim vote math that doomed Scalise’s speaker bid as Jordan lacks the 217 votes needed to win the gavel in a full House floor vote.
Jordan has the weekend to continue to make his case and attempt to flip holdouts, but he faces a steep uphill battle.
The GOP conference faced whiplash this week after Scalise won an initial vote to become speaker nominee, only to drop out not long after as a result of entrenched opposition to his candidacy. The week ended with another vote, this time to make Jordan the new nominee. But it soon became clear that Jordan also faces a stiff wall of resistance.
The House remains effectively frozen as long as there is no speaker, a dire situation that comes as Congress faces a fast-approaching government funding deadline in mid-November and as crisis unfolds abroad in Ukraine and with Israel’s war against Hamas.
Asked by CNN’s Manu Raju how the entire episode reflects on the GOP, McCarthy said on Friday, “it’s terrible.”
Republicans have grown increasingly frustrated that the conference has not been able to coalesce around a candidate. Some are openly questioning whether anyone can reach 217 votes.