Round 1: Jeffries (D) – 212, Jordan (R) 200, Other (R) – 20
It has been about two weeks since Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was removed as Speaker of the House, leaving Congress unable to get any work done until someone can meet the threshold of 217 votes. As of this first round, no one secured the required 217 votes.
How did we get here?
January 7, 2023 – McCarthy became Speaker of the House in January after voting for 15 rounds due to a handful of Republicans with demands that included a change to the House rules that allowed any one member of the House to call for a motion to remove the Speaker at any time for any reason. After initially nominating and voting for Donald Trump for Speaker, Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) leveraged his strong holdout to get McCarthy to adopt this rule to earn his (and a handful of other Republican representatives) vote, leading to the win for McCarthy.
Here is a quick recap of the events around McCarthy’s vote into power:
September 30, 2023 – With a government shutdown just one day away, McCarthy put forward a bipartisan deal to keep the government running for 45 more days (through a temporary spending bill known as a CR, or Continuing Resolution). This allowed active-duty military troops to get paid, air travel to remain at status quo, and keep food on the table for millions of families. With no Speaker, it has been two weeks and no progress has been made to meet the 45 day government shutdown deadline extension that sealed the fate of McCarthy’s speakership.
Gaetz warned McCarthy that he would file a motion to vacate the Speaker, calling for his removal if he decided to work with Democrats to ensure a Continuing Resolution. Gaetz followed through with his threat and called for the vote to remove McCarthy two days after the bipartisan bill to avoid a government shutdown was signed. With such a slim majority and only a simple majority required for the motion to vacate to happen, McCarthy ultimately lost the uphill battle after all Democrats and 8 Republicans voted to remove him. The Republicans were reportedly furious and tensions ran so high that the House was adjourned for a number of days to give time for everyone to calm down.
Where are we now?
Steve Scalise (R-LA) and Jim Jordan (R-OH) were the two candidates within the Republican party that were voted on behind closed doors, with Scalise winning the majority vote 111-99 over Jordan. Scalise announced his nomination on October 11. By October 12, Scalise withdrew his candidacy, paving the way for Jim Jordan to be the official nominee for the Republicans.
212 Democrats are 100% united behind Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), so it is the “Hard No” Republicans that are under scrutiny to see how they will vote. For round 1, 20 Republicans voted for an alternative candidate simply to not vote for Jordan.
What Happens Next?
To become Speaker of the House in this particular session, someone needs to earn 217 votes. After round one, Jeffries (D) received 212 votes and Jordan (R) received 200. Only five more votes for Jeffries are needed for a historic win for a Democratic Speaker of the House while the Republicans hold the majority. Jim Jordan can only afford to lose 4 votes, and he has lost 20.
Alternate plans have been discussed, but there is no clear alternative to Jim Jordan. In the days after McCarthy was ousted, moderate Republicans and hard-no Republicans were near 50 against Jordan, but after today’s vote, it was clear that there were plenty who caved to the pressure.
Let’s see how round two shapes up.
To watch these sessions live, here are some sources on YouTube to check out: