After the vote to elect Rep. Jim Jordan speaker of the House came up short Tuesday, an alternative is reportedly gaining some traction of formally electing Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina speaker pro tempore.
McHenry is the designated acting speaker now, but lacks the authority to move legislation through the House, according to Politico.
McHenry presided over the vote for speaker on Tuesday, which resulted in House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries receiving 212 votes, Jordan, 200 votes; and others, including former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, a combined 20 votes.
A speaker must receive a majority of the voting members present, which was 217.
So Jordan needed to pick up an additional 17 votes to win.
A second vote is scheduled for Wednesday at 11 a.m. Eastern Time, according to The Hill.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) fails to win the Speakership on the first ballot.
20 Republicans voted for other candidates while all 212 Democrats supported Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), making the House Minority Leader the top vote-getter. pic.twitter.com/Pi3xjMoZje
— The Recount (@therecount) October 17, 2023
Politico reported, “Centrist Republicans and Democrats are once again backchanneling about a possible vote to strengthen McHenry’s abilities to bring legislation to the floor — particularly spending bills, given a Nov. 17 funding deadline — amid the weeks-long impasse in selecting a speaker.”
“They’re pushing a short-term measure that would grant McHenry added powers and could pass the House by majority vote, though they have not coalesced around specific language,” the news outlet added.
GOP Rep. Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania who voted against Jordan becoming speaker, introduced a resolution to formally elect McHenry speaker pro tempore.
In a Monday letter to his GOP House colleagues, he wrote, “By formally electing him, we as a body give him the power to move legislation to the floor for consideration.”
Under the resolution he would serve until no longer than Nov. 17, 2023, the deadline to fund the government, or until a new speaker is elected, whichever is earlier.
NEWS: Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) with a new resolution pushing for Rep. McHenry to be elected (vs. designated) speaker pro tempore to have extended powers while in the role and as House Rs work to elect their next speaker pic.twitter.com/FbPZcnTkYW
— Olivia Beavers (@Olivia_Beavers) October 16, 2023
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries indicated that he has a favorable view of McHenry.
“Our focus right now relates not just to any one individual, but to getting the institution reopened. I have respect for Patrick McHenry. I think he is respected on our side of the aisle,” Jeffries said.
He added, “There are a whole host of other Republicans who are respected on all sides of the aisle. Jim Jordan is not one of them.”
In theory, Democrats could side with a handful of centrist Republicans to elect McHenry speaker pro tempore, in the same way they voted with Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida and the other seven GOP House members to oust McCarthy.