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House GOP approval drops as Republican chaos paralyzes the chamber

The House has been without a leader for two weeks, leaving Congress unable to pass any bills or approve any funding.

By Emily Singer - October 19, 2023
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Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, Republican nominee for speaker of the House, and Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., left, are seen on the House floor of the U.S. Capitol after a second ballot vote in which Jordan failed to receive enough votes to win the position on Wednesday, October 18, 2023. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, Republican nominee for speaker of the House, and Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., left, are seen on the House floor of the U.S. Capitol after a second ballot vote in which Jordan failed to receive enough votes to win the position on Wednesday, October 18, 2023. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

Support for House Republicans has plunged in recent weeks as the party’s inability to coalesce behind a speaker has left the chamber frozen and unable to conduct any business.

Just 26% of voters approve of the way Republicans in Congress are handling their jobs, according to a new poll from Navigator Research. That’s down from the 30% approval Republicans in Congress had in Navigator’s poll from just over a month ago on Sept. 11.

Disapproval of the way congressional Republicans are handling their jobs has risen. Sixty-nine percent of voters now disapprove of the job Republicans are doing, according to the Navigator Research poll. That’s up from 62% on Sept. 11.

The decline in support for House Republicans comes after right-wing GOP members ousted Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) from the speakership.

Since then, Republicans have failed to unite behind a replacement, leaving the House in a state of limbo in which no bills can be brought to the floor for a vote.

In an internal conference meeting, Republicans initially voted for House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) to be their speaker nominee. However, enough Republicans said they would never vote for Scalise that he dropped out of contention before his nomination could be voted on by the full House.

Republicans then nominated Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), a right-wing hard-liner who hasn’t passed a single bill in his 16 years in Congress.

But Jordan has now failed to receive a majority of the vote in two rounds of voting on the House floor. In fact, in a second round of voting on Wednesday, Jordan received even fewer votes than he did on the first ballot. The 199 votes he received — far short of the 217 that were necessary to capture the gavel — was the lowest number of votes a majority party’s nominee had gotten in modern history, according to the Washington Post’s Paul Kane.

Meanwhile, some of the 22 Republicans who voted against Jordan’s speakership candidacy are now receiving death threats from Jordan supporters who want to coerce them into supporting his candidacy.

Ultimately, it’s unclear if anyone in the Republican conference can cobble together enough votes to become speaker. Republicans have just a four-seat majority, giving GOP speaker candidates almost no room to lose any votes from the fractious caucus.

Each day there is no speaker is a day the House cannot work on critical appropriations bills that must pass in order to avoid a shutdown when the federal government runs out of money on Nov. 17.

The House is also unable to pass bills that would give aid to Ukraine and Israel. Ukraine is still fighting a war against Russian forces that invaded ithe country in 2022. Israel is currently engaged in war with Hamas, after the group, which the U.S. government deems a terrorist organization, entered Israel and killed at least 1,200 people and kidnapped over 100 in what’s being called the deadliest attack on Jews since the Holocaust.

House Democrats, who have unanimously voted each time for Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) for speaker, are offering Republicans a lifeline, saying they are willing to work with Republicans on a bipartisan agreement to get the House working again.

“The majority has nominated a Speaker candidate who is the poster child for MAGA extremism and dangerous conspiracy theories,” Jeffries tweeted on Wednesday. “It’s time for them to get real, end the Republican Civil War and join House Democrats in a bipartisan path forward.”

Democrats have floated giving Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry (R-NC) the power to act as speaker for a short period, which would allow the House to get back to business.

It’s unclear, however, whether Republicans will take that offer.

“We’ve never empowered a Speaker-pro-tem with full powers w/o having chosen a duly elected Speaker,” Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) tweeted. “[And] for @HouseGOP to join w/ Dems to do so now not only raises constitutional concerns, but represents an unforgivable step to coalition government & likely decimation in 2024.”

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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