Conservative Jim Jordan has sought more time to bolster his faltering bid for the top job in the United States House of Representatives after losing a second vote, while his fellow Republicans considered a backup option for the leaderless chamber.
Jordan, a member of the party’s right flank with support from former president Donald Trump, failed to earn enough support in a Wednesday vote to secure the speakership. He said he expects a third vote to be held on Thursday.
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“It’s just painfully obvious that what a lot of our people want to do we can’t do,” said Republican Representative Steve Womack, who voted against Jordan. “We’d like to elect a speaker, and we can’t even do that.”
The House, which makes up one-half of the bicameral US legislative branch, with the Senate as the second half, has been without a leader for more than two weeks, with continued infighting fracturing the Republican Party’s thin majority.
Jordan fell short of the needed 217 votes in the first ballot on Tuesday and received fewer votes in the second ballot on Wednesday. After Wednesday’s vote, Jordan said he would “keep talking to members, keep working on it”.
But the second straight loss has made it difficult to imagine a path that could lead Jordan to the speakership.
Republicans are considering possible alternatives for the chamber in the event that they cannot settle on a speaker, including handing Representative Patrick McHenry, who is serving as the interim speaker, expanded powers.
Once seen as a routine procedure in the House, a fractious but thin Republican majority has struggled to find consensus. The group of about 20 Republicans who have voted against Jordan represent a range of grievances, rather than coming from one single wing of the party.
Some have expressed their belief that Jordan, a hard-right figure, is too extreme to lead the body. Others have objected to what they describe as his arm-twisting methods of gaining support.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies