A lawmaker tallies votes during Republican Representative from Ohio Jim Jordan's second failed bid to be the next Speaker of the House in the US Capitol in Washington, DC, USA, 18 October 2023. (Jordania) EFE/EPA/JIM LO SCALZO

Republican Jim Jordan falls short in second vote for speaker

Washington, Oct 18 (EFE).- Republican Jim Jordan, ally of former US President Donald Trump (2017-2021) and member of the hard wing of the Republican Party, fell short again in the second vote on Wednesday to lead the House of Representatives.

Jordan received 199 votes on Wednesday and his opponent, Democratic minority leader Hakeem Jeffries, 212, all from his caucus, so neither reached the minimum required.

Republican Representative of Ohio Jim Jordan (C) speaks with former Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (L), staffers and lawmakers; after the second round of votes on the election of a new House Speaker, on the House floor in the US Capitol in Washington, DC, USA, 18 October 2023. EFE/EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

Democrats applauded their leader as the result was certified, while Republicans received the number in silence.

Since January, conservatives have held 221 seats in the US lower chamber, meaning Jordan needed 217 votes to win the position.

However, 22 of his colleagues voted for candidates who had not even run.

Among them, the previous speaker of the lower house, also conservative, Kevin McCarthy, who received 5 votes, and the other Republican who aimed to run for this position, Steve Scalise, who received 7.

Scalise dropped out of the race last week when he realized he did not have enough support.

In Tuesday’s vote, the Republican congressman received 200 votes after 20 colleagues failed to support him, and Jeffries again received 212 votes.

Jeffries was hopeful Tuesday that a bipartisan solution could be reached to elect the new leader of the chamber.

At the end of the first vote, he maintained that the path they were proposing was not currently focused on a specific candidate, but on the way to unblock a situation for which they blame the Republicans.

On Wednesday, however, the “number three” in the Democratic Party, Pete Aguilar, defended that Jeffries should be speaker of the lower house.

Aguilar criticized Jordan’s record in the lower house, noting that he had voted against aid bills for various disasters in several US states and against legislation to benefit veterans.

“This body is talking about elevating a speaker nominee who has not passed a single bill in 16 years,” Aguilar also said.

Republican Representative of Florida Matt Gaetz attends a second round of voting on the election of a new House Speaker, on the House floor in the US Capitol in Washington, DC, USA, 18 October 2023. EFE/EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

“These are not the actions of someone interested in governing or bettering the lives of everyday Americans,” he added.

The Speaker’s position has been vacant since McCarthy was ousted on Oct. 3 after ultra-conservative Matt Gaetz of his own party filed a motion against him.

The interim presidency is in the hands of conservative Patrick McHenry, but until there is a new “speaker” no new resolutions or bills can be passed at a time when the budgets for the current fiscal year must be closed and when the authorization of more aid to Ukraine or Israel is pending.

Democrats have made it clear that they do not plan to support Jordan, and there are already voices in Congress suggesting that McHenry be given more authority to pass resolutions from the acting chair.

Last January, McCarthy needed 15 attempts to win the position after successive blockades by the most radical members of his party, including Gaetz, and made history by being the first time in a century that this vote was not surpassed on the first try. EFE