Rep. Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio, will continue to “bleed votes” with each attempt to win the speaker’s gavel, and Republicans should look to a temporary speakership to break, so the House can move legislation to aid Israel and Ukraine and keep the government operating, said Rep. Ken Buck, Republican of Colorado.
“I think he bleeds three or four votes this next time, maybe a little bit more,” Buck told “The Takeout” podcast this week.
“He started out with). He’s . I think he’ll be down to 25, 26 if he goes to the floor again,” Buck said.
Buck said some Republicans “folded” under intense pressure from grassroots Republican activists. But he pointed out others have not onlybut have become more adamant in opposition to Jordan and the hardball tactics.
“Some of them re saying, ‘Get outta my face,’ and ‘I’m voting against the person you want me to vote for because I’m so offended that this is happening,'” Buck said.
House Republicans, at Jordan’s behest, plan to hold another speaker vote Thursday.
Buck said other House Republicans may peel off Jordan’s candidacy after voting for him twice, feeling it’s politically risky to continue backing a Trump-endorsed GOP hardliner.
“More and more members are going to be able to say, ‘I voted for him the first two times (but) now we have to move on and find a speaker,'” Buck predicted.
The current floor chaos is “not a good image,” and Buck says he does not see a clear path to electing a speaker.
But he did offer two possible outcomes: first, a “power-sharing” arrangement by which Majority Leader Steve Scalise, of Louisiana, becomes speaker and Jordan becomes majority leader. The second possibility he raised was a temporary speakership held by current Speaker pro tempore,, Republican of North Carolina.
Buck said the “power-sharing” arrangement could heal the deep rift between Scalise and Jordan camps (Jordan’s team thwarted Scalise’s first bid to become speaker), and it would have other benefits for Jordan.
Under this option, “Jordan puts himself in a position so in the future he could become speaker,” Buck said. “I wouldn’t call it bowing out, but I think in Jim’s mind, there is a way to keep this alive, keep the dream alive.”
Buck said this was not his preferred approach.
He wants to see McHenry elected speaker on a temporary basis, with limited procedural powers to oversee passage of must-pass spending bills.
“A 30-day or 60-day speaker who would have full authority to bring an Israeli supplemental bill to the floor, a Ukraine supplemental bill, a spending bill (to avoid a government shutdown),” Buck said. “We’re 30 days away from a shutdown. So we have to have a speaker, and the speaker has to have full power to — to make things happen. That’s the number one option.”
Buck conceded many Republicans oppose such a move. Rep. Chip Roy, Republican of Texas, said Wednesday he was “violently opposed” to empowering McHenry on a temporary basis. Buck also acknowledged House Democrats would have to join a bipartisan coalition to create a temporary speakership for McHenry.
“What we would do in effect was to say, ‘Okay, we will elect Patrick McHenry, and he will agree to resign in 30 days or 60 days, so that we can move forward with legislation,'” Buck said. “And at the same time, (Republicans) figure out who we’re going to pick as a permanent speaker. So, if [McHenry] doesn’t resign, we have a motion to vacate. In that case, he would get Democrat votes and Republican votes. He would be the speaker. He would agree (by saying), ‘I’m giving the Republican conference 30 days, 60 days to, to find a speaker. If they find it in 10 days, I’ll resign.’ And you can have a speaker in 10 days.”
But all of this remains a long way from being achieved, Buck said. Jordan’s pursuit of the speakership would have to exhaust itself, and other political calculations would need to be sorted out before Republicans determine next steps.
“This is three-dimensional chess,” Buck said.
Executive producer: Arden Farhi
Producers: Jamie Benson, Jacob Rosen, Sara Cook and Eleanor Watson