December 10, 2023

Outspoken conservative Jim Jordan will try again to win the top job in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday, as continued Republican infighting sends the chamber into its 16th day without a leader.

The House is due to hold a second vote to fill the vacant speaker’s chair when it convenes at 11 a.m. ET (1500 GMT), giving Jordan another chance to win the needed 217 votes. Jordan came up short in an initial vote on Tuesday as 20 of his fellow Republicans and all 212 Democrats voted against him.

Republicans who control the chamber have so far been unable to unite behind a speaker candidate since a small faction of them ousted Kevin McCarthy on Oct. 3.

That has left Congress unable to respond to crises in the Middle East and Ukraine, and consumed more than two weeks of the time they had allowed themselves to fund the government past Nov. 17, when a stopgap spending bill runs out.

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Click to play video: 'Who will take over vacant U.S. House Speaker role after Kevin McCarthy ousted?'

Who will take over vacant U.S. House Speaker role after Kevin McCarthy ousted?

It is not clear whether Jordan, a close ally of former President Donald Trump, will fare better in a second vote.

At least one Republican who voted against him on Tuesday, Representative Doug LaMalfa, said he would vote for Jordan on the second ballot. But Representative Ken Buck, a Jordan opponent, predicted that 5 to 10 additional Republicans would turn against him.

New Republican challengers could emerge if Jordan does not pick up support, but Jordan’s supporters said it was too soon to consider other options.

“He’s the only viable candidate we have,” Republican Representative Thomas Massie told reporters.

Republicans control the House by a narrow 221-212 majority and can afford no more than four defections on controversial votes.

Click to play video: 'Biden urges congress to shed ‘poisonous atmosphere’ after McCarthy ousted as House Speaker'

Biden urges congress to shed ‘poisonous atmosphere’ after McCarthy ousted as House Speaker

Democrats, meanwhile, are pressing for a bipartisan compromise that could result in more powers for Republican Representative Patrick McHenry, who is acting as temporary speaker.

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“Our objective is to reopen the House of Representatives,” Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries said on Tuesday.

Unlike previous House leaders, who gained influence by raising money and building broad coalitions, Jordan has made his name as a vocal leader of the party’s hard right, tangling with Democrats and Republicans alike.

As a founder of the far-right House Freedom Caucus, the former wrestling coach helped drive Republican Speaker John Boehner into retirement in 2015 and advocated for government shutdowns in 2013 and 2018.

A congressional investigation found that Jordan was a “significant player” in Trump’s efforts to overturn his 2020 election defeat.

Click to play video: 'Kevin McCarthy kicked out as U.S. House speaker'

Kevin McCarthy kicked out as U.S. House speaker

As chair of the House Judiciary Committee, he has led investigations into Democratic President Joe Biden’s administration and is a driving force in an impeachment inquiry into Biden that Democrats say is baseless.

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Jordan’s supporters say he would be an effective advocate for advancing conservative priorities in Washington, where Democrats control the White House and the Senate.

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