DemDaily: The Chaos Conference

October 19, 2023

In another dramatic twist to the bitter Speaker's battle, House Republicans rejected a temporary resolution to free the US House from its paralysis -- now in its 16th day -- and return to the urgent business of the country.

The historically fractious and chaotic GOP conference decided against a proposal to empower interim Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry (R-NC) with the authority to act as Speaker through January 3, 2024.

Elevating McHenry, a reluctant warrior, could have allowed the House to vote on emergency measures such as stopgap funding to avoid a government shutdown and aid to Ukraine and Israel.

The resolution was supported by "Speaker-Designate" Jim Jordan (OH), who was nominated by the GOP Conference on October 13, but has failed to reach the requisite 217 votes to win the gavel in two subsequent floor votes. The plan would have given Jordan two and half months to convince over 20 members who oppose his candidacy that he is the right man for the job.

The deal, however, would not have been possible without the cooperation of Democrats -- which is an anathema to the same ultra-conservative faction of the GOP, led by Jordan's Freedom Caucus co-founder Matt Gaetz (FL), that set their party on this chaotic course October 3 when they historically ousted Kevin McCarthy as Speaker.

Gaetz and McCarthy reportedly tangled during this afternoon's conference meeting, with McCarthy blaming Gaetz for fomenting the chaos in the still-rudderless House and Gaetz later mocking McCarthy, saying, "I think he's working through the stages of grief, and might be at the anger part."

The House is now back on track to vote on Jordan for a third time in what some opponents have vowed is a useless exercise as the polarizing hard-liner has reportedly lost at least 10 additional supporters since yesterday's vote.

In the meantime, some of Jordan's detractors have been inundated with threatening calls, with Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA) announcing she received "credible death threats" after she switched her vote to another Republican in Wednesday's second round of voting. Congressmen Nick LaLota (R-NY) and Don Bacon (R-NE), both anti-Jordan moderates, were among others who also received threats.

"There are many good men and women on the Republican side of the aisle who are qualified to be Speaker of the House of Representatives. There is no circumstance," said Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (NY), "where Jim Jordan is one of them."

DemList will keep you informed.

DemDaily: Day 15 10/19/23
DemDaily: The Bitter Battle for The Gavel 10/13/23
DemDaily: Holding The House Hostage 10/12/23
DemDaily: GOP House of Cards Crumbles 10/3/23

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Kimberly Scott

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Sources: US House, AP, USAToday, NBC, Newsweek

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