Bipartisan support is growing for Rep. Patrick McHenry to serve as House Speaker pro tempore


Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), House Leader pro tempore and Speaker pro tempore, holds the gavel on the House floor as they prepare to vote on a new Speaker of the House at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on October 17, 2023. House Republicans are holding a vote on appointing Jordan as the new Speaker of the House.

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With Rep. Jim Jordan’s nomination for Speaker of the House in doubt on Wednesday, a growing number of Republicans and Democrats were rallying around a plan to formally elect Rep. Patrick McHenry as speaker pro tem, to allow Congress to perform basic duties.

Hours before the vote on his presidency, Jordan backed down from this idea.

“I don’t think that’s the right way,” Jordan, a far-right Republican from Ohio, told NBC News when asked about calls to empower McHenry.

Jordan lost his first ballot for House Speaker on Tuesday, with 20 Republicans and all Democrats voting against him. The House is scheduled to consider Jordan’s nomination as speaker again at 11 a.m. ET.

The House of Representatives has been without a speaker for two weeks, after Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California was ousted, instigated by a small bloc of right-wing Republicans.

Congress faces a November 17 deadline to draft and pass a spending bill to prevent the federal government from shutting down.

Sen. Tim Scott: Make Rep. Patrick McHenry speaker interim so funding for Israel can move forward

McHenry, a Republican from North Carolina, was named interim speaker after McCarthy’s ouster.

One GOP lawmaker, Rep. Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania, has already advanced a resolution to elect McHenry as interim president, expanding his currently limited powers.

Doing so “will allow the House to bring forward important legislation, including appropriations bills, for full consideration” by the rapidly approaching state funding deadline, Kelly said in a statement. statement Tuesday.

Another House Republican, Dave Joyce of Ohio, told NBC News earlier Wednesday that he would submit his own resolution to elect McHenry.

“After two weeks without a Speaker of the House and without a clear nominee who received 217 votes at the Republican Convention, it is time to consider other viable options,” Joyce told NBC in a statement.

“By empowering Patrick McHenry as interim president, we can shepherd our ally Israel until a new president is elected,” Joyce said.

Some centrist Democrats have already done so He supported The idea of ​​expanding McHenry’s powers in 15-day increments at a time.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., has signaled openness about electing McHenry, who was a top GOP negotiator during a partisan clash in May over the nation’s debt limit, as interim speaker.

“We continue to say that we seek a bipartisan path forward that is real and genuine and that we want to agree to in good faith,” Jeffries said Tuesday night.

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The chaos surrounding the speaker’s gavel in the Republican-majority chamber raises concerns about the government’s ability to respond to a range of pressing global issues.

Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Wednesday morning, called on his Republican colleagues in the House of Representatives to elect McHenry so that the United States could quickly send wartime aid to Israel.

Scott, who is running for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, said that if he were in the White House now, he would urge his party to choose an interim speaker “so business can get done in the House.”

“Why don’t we get the people’s business done by at least appointing Patrick McHenry as interim president, so the legislation can move forward so that the funding apparatus that will be necessary to support Israel has a way forward?” he asked. Scott said.

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