Democrats Willing To Support McHenry as House Chaos Continues

( – On October 3, for the first time in US history, the House of Representatives voted to remove its speaker, Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), from the leadership position. His ouster threw the lower chamber into chaos, and now, more than two weeks later, it’s still without a leader. There have been a few names tossed around, including Reps. Steve Scalise (R-LA) and Jim Jordan (R-OH), with Jordan emerging as the nominee. Democrats, in the meantime, are looking at a short-term solution to get Congress back in action.

Democrats Look to McHenry

Filling the speaker role is significant because the person who sits in this position is second in line to the presidency, behind the vice president. It’s also crucial to passing legislation. Not having a speaker is hurting Congress in more ways than one. In the interim, while the House works to elect a new leader, Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry (R-NC) is in charge — but his powers are limited.

To help with the standstill, moderate Democrats, including Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Susie Lee (D-NV), Ed Case (D-HI), and Jared Golden (D-ME), have proposed to “expand the Speaker Pro Tempore’s authorities.” This would give McHenry the power needed to take up urgent legislation. Currently, Congress has until November 17 to pass a funding bill — one that’s in serious jeopardy of shutting down the government if it doesn’t happen. Additionally, there’s the matter of funding Ukraine and other foreign aid.

The Blue Dog Coalition, a group of centrist Democrats, has endorsed the move, which would expand McHenry’s authorities in 15-day increments as needed. There’s a caveat. The coalition wants the powers to only extend to the government shutdown and to ensuring that Ukraine and Israel have the funds they need to fight off their aggressors.

Speaker Nominees

The current GOP nominee is Jim Jordan. Democrats will stick to their nominee, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY). In order to win, Jordan has to secure the majority of the votes, and he is already facing opposition in the House due to his hardline stance.

Many say electing Jordan, however, won’t be as tedious as McCarthy’s election back in January. It took 15 floor votes across four days and a number of concessions for the California representative to win the role. One of those concessions was the ability to introduce a no-confidence vote. In the end, that worked against him, and he only held the role for 269 days, the shortest term of any speaker in more than 140 years.

Jordan failed to get enough votes during the first ballot on October 17, so Congress needs to vote on the Speaker again soon.

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