Lawmakers voted to reject hard-line conservative Jim Jordan´s bid for speaker of the US House of Representatives for a third time on Friday, compounding the chaos that has left the government without a functioning legislative branch for weeks.

Underscoring the dysfunction plaguing the majority Republicans, the vote came after President Joe Biden had asked Congress for $106 billion in emergency funding — mainly military aid for Ukraine and Israel — but with no hope of a quick approval.Jordan, a close ally of former president Donald Trump, lost the support of 25 members of his own party — with the tally of lawmakers backing his bid for the gavel worsening with each round of voting.In the 17 days since Kevin McCarthy was removed in a rebellion by right-wing hard-liners, no Republican has been able to muster enough votes to replace him. “We´re in a very bad place right now,” McCarthy admitted after the latest setback, days after predicting that Jordan would win in the first ballot.It was not immediately clear when or if Jordan would make a fourth attempt, leaving the lower chamber of Congress with no realistic plan to end one of its worst institutional crises in decades.Jordan, the chairman of the powerful Judiciary Committee but a deeply divisive figure even in his own party, sought to rally support for his floundering bid in a press conference he called before his latest rejection.The 59-year-old former champion wrestler was asked about Biden´s aid request and responded: “We can´t do that — can´t vote on that, can´t pass anything in that — until we get the House open.”On Thursday, Jordan ally and fellow Ohio congressman Warren Davidson said that the veteran conservative intended to keep calling floor votes across the weekend. “Our plan this weekend is to get a speaker elected to the House of Representatives as soon as possible so we can help the American people,” Jordan told reporters, without elaborating.A closed-door meeting on Thursday underscored tensions as lawmakers openly urged Jordan to drop out. “With great respect, it has become evident that Chairman Jordan does not and will not have the votes to become speaker,” New Jersey representative Tom Kean, a previous supporter who flipped against the congressman, said in a statement on Friday.Several Republicans are considering speaker bids of their own, according to US media, while the colleagues who voted against Jordan have made clear that they will not relent, however many times he demands another vote.Meanwhile, Democratic minority leader Hakeem Jeffries called for a bipartisan choice for speaker, calling Jordan a “clear and present danger to our democracy.” “There are still reasonable Republicans over on the other side of the aisle, as I´ve repeatedly said — good men and women who want the House reopened,” Jeffries told reporters.He said he would keep his members in Washington over the weekend in case further votes were announced. “We are going to be here for as long as it takes,” he said.


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2023-10-21

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