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Jim Jordan fails to become House speaker after spending career failing to pass any bills

The Ohio Republican has spent over a decade in Congress hyping conspiracy theories and thwarting critical legislation.

By Emily Singer - October 18, 2023
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Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, the Republican nominee for speaker of the House, is seen on the House floor of the U.S. Capitol before he did not receive enough votes to become speaker on Tuesday, October 17, 2023. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, the Republican nominee for speaker of the House, is seen on the House floor of the U.S. Capitol before he did not receive enough votes to become speaker on Tuesday, October 17, 2023. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

Republicans on Tuesday failed to elect Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) as the next House speaker in the first round of voting. Their failure leaves the chamber paralyzed with only a month left before the government runs out of funding and as Israel asks Congress to provide aid for its war against the terrorist organization Hamas.

Jordan managed to get 200 votes on the first ballot. However, 20 Republicans voted against him, enough to deny him a majority. All 212 Democrats voted for Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), leaving Jeffries with the most votes but shy of a majority needed to take the gavel.

Republicans said they were wary of Jordan’s history of not being a team player and of his support for extreme positions that are unpopular with a majority of Americans.

In his 16 years in Congress, Jordan has not had one piece of legislation he’s authored pass the House, let alone become law, the Washington Post reported.

Instead, he has spent a large portion of his time advocating against passing bills, a role he was so good at that former Republican Speaker John Boehner dubbed him a “political terrorist.”

“I just never saw a guy who spent more time tearing things apart – never building anything, never putting anything together,” Boehner said of Jordan in a 2021 interview with CBS News.

Jordan was a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of right-wing lawmakers in the House that works to thwart passage of legislation and was the driving force behind past government shutdowns.

Less than three weeks ago, Jordan was one of 90 Republicans who voted against the short-term funding bill that kept the government open for another 45 days to allow Congress time to try to pass individual appropriations bills.

Meanwhile, the bills Jordan has introduced have never even made it to the floor for a vote.

For example, in 2013, he introduced the Life at Conception Act, an anti-abortion bill that “Declares that the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human being beginning at the moment of fertilization, cloning, or other moment at which an individual comes into being. Prohibits construing this Act to authorize the prosecution of any woman for the death of her unborn child.”

In 2012, Jordan introduced a bill that would have forced those seeking abortions to undergo an ultrasound while the provider administering the procedure offered “simultaneous explanation of what the ultrasound is depicting, display the ultrasound images so the woman may view them, and provide a complete medical description of the images, including the dimensions of the embryo or fetus, cardiac activity if present and visible, and the presence of external members and internal organs if present and viewable.”

In 2009, he introduced a bill that would have repealed the right to same-sex marriage in the District of Columbia.

When he’s not working to pass unpopular bills or to stop critical legislation from passing, Jordan spends a large chunk of his time on right-wing cable news outlets pushing lies about voter fraud and Republican-concocted conspiracy theories to try to help former President Donald Trump and hurt Democrats.

Since 2017, Jordan has appeared on Fox News 565 times — the most of any sitting member of Congress, according to Media Matters for America.

His speaker bid was endorsed by Fox News host Sean Hannity, whose show Jordan regularly appears on to push the Republicans’ scandal du jour.

What’s more, Jordan was a key figure in Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election.

His name comes up more than 45 times in the report of the now-shuttered House select committee that probed the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. The committee had issued a subpoena to Jordan to testify before it, but he ignored that legally binding request and never sat for a deposition.

According to the committee’s final report, “Jordan was a significant player in President Trump’s efforts” to steal the election.

That’s not all of Jordan’s baggage.

Jordan, who was a wrestling coach at Ohio State University before he was elected to Congress, was accused by former wrestlers at the school of ignoring their reports of sexual abuse by a doctor at the school.

Democrats, for their part, plan to make sure voters know about the man that a majority of Republicans — including vulnerable House members such as Tom Kean Jr. of New Jersey and Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania — have supported for speaker.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which works to elect Democrats to the House, sent a memo on Tuesday to House Democrats offering messaging guidance on what a Jordan speakership would mean for the country.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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