The House is scheduled to convene at 11:00 a.m. this morning to conduct a quorum call, followed by nominating speeches for each side’s Speaker designee. Jim Jordan (R-OH) remains the Republican designee after failing on a first ballot for Speaker yesterday.
Of the 20 House Republicans who voted for a candidate other than Jordan, Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) has announced that he will now support Jordan. In addition, Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), who was absent yesterday, is now present and will support Jordan.
Members who continue to oppose Jordan, however, believe they will pick up additional Members on a second ballot. Given this uncertainty, we believe it is likely that a second ballot will be delayed until later this afternoon, rather than immediately following the currently scheduled 11:00 a.m. quorum call.
Meanwhile, Rep. Dave Joyce (R-OH) has authored a privileged resolution to elect Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) to the position of Speaker Pro Tempore through the end of this year, a position he currently holds via appointment under a post-9/11 emergency provision of House Rules.
McHenry alone has the discretion to recognize Joyce for this purpose and it is not clear he supports the effort should Joyce seek recognition today (or later this week).
Electing McHenry to the Speaker Pro Tempore role would vest all powers of the speakership within him, but for the presidential line of succession (which would be left for the Executive Branch to decide whether to include him or not).
McHenry would presumably be elected to the position by a bipartisan, though controversial, vote. House Republicans would likely be split on the matter while House Democrats could very well unify behind the effort (Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) has said that “all options are on the table”). Though former Speakers John Boehner (R-OH) and Newt Gingrich (R-GA) have endorsed the resolution, conservatives are panning it.
McHenry would thus be a coalition-style Speaker if the Joyce resolution were to be considered and pass, remaining in the position by moving bipartisan legislation. This form of House Leadership has not been tested in the modern congressional era and would remain subject to the motion to vacate (available to any Member of the House). Such motions could become unending on the part of upset Members from either Party, but most particularly conservative Republicans (i.e., House Freedom Caucus).