In September 2016, Representative Jim Jordan was on a mission to have the House begin impeachment proceedings against Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen due to allegations of IRS bias against conservatives.
But there was a snag for Jordan (R-Ohio): GOP party leaders considered impeachment a losing political strategy and refused to even question Koskinen.
But Jordan would not give in to intimidation. A few weeks before the election, he cornered then-House Judiciary Committee Chair Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) on the House floor and gave him an ultimatum: either bring Koskinen to Capitol Hill, or the Freedom Caucus will force a vote on his impeachment.
Jordan’s ears were opened up.
That’s just one example of the Ohio Republican’s employment of aggressive methods, including what some of his colleagues may term bullying, to obtain what he wanted. Because of how well he did, he was called the “other speaker of the House” by HEADLINESFOREVER.
Once again, Jordan has asked for something that many of his coworkers are unwilling to provide. As he puts up his final effort to become the speaker, he must decide whether to maintain his newfound cooperative spirit or revert to his old ways. Does he soften his approach or fall back on the aggressive methods on which he made his name?
He, without a doubt, has some tasks to complete. Yesterday’s vote for speaker of the House Republican Conference, which Jordan won, was hardly the show of party unity he and his allies had hoped for. Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.), a low-profile backbencher who decided to run in the final hours before the vote, received the support of an astounding 81 Republican colleagues, who voted against Jordan.
A Republican lawmaker from Florida said, “We were shocked at the number of people who did not vote for him,” according to Bloomberg. In other words, “there was nowhere else to go, and they still didn’t want to go there.”
Jordan’s main problem is that many of his coworkers still don’t trust him, despite the fact that he has become more aligned with leadership over the previous three years.
Many people are afraid he would take fiscal risks and lead to government shutdowns. Others are upset with his treatment of House Majority Leader Steve Scalise after Scalise won the nomination on Wednesday and would prefer that the runner-up not become speaker.
It’s hardly shocking that Jordan and his supporters are prepared to fight, unlike Scalise. Their plan is straightforward: take a public vote on the floor to expose the naysayers and put them under political pressure.
Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) told HEADLINESFOREVER on Friday that his opponents will buckle under pressure from the GOP base if the bill is voted on the floor, echoing the assumption in Jordan world that his opponents will fall.
There is some truth to the theory: Opposition decreased from 81 to 55 on a secret-ballot revote asking members if they would back Jordan on the floor. And just a small fraction of those 55 have spoken out publicly, indicating that there is, in fact, a fear of openly breaking with Jordan.
The case Jordan has been making to his colleagues in recent days is that he is a changed man who would represent all Republicans, not just base-pleasing conservatives. However, getting to 217 will take a scorched-earth whipping campaign that goes against this.
If he moves to bulldoze his opposition on the floor, it would be a reversal of his position from earlier this week, when he said the nominee required 217 support within the conference before engaging in a floor fight.
(It’s important to note that Jordan isn’t alone in this reversal; earlier last week, when Scalise was surging, former speaker Kevin McCarthy supported the get-217-first rule. According to a source present during yesterday’s nomination, Jordan and acting Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry advised Republicans to get in line because Jordan will be speaker. After Scalise’s nomination, neither guy communicated that.
A faction of Republicans, undeterred by the mounting opposition, is already secretly plotting a strategy to stand firm against him. Defence hawks aren’t happy with his wavering on budget increases for the Pentagon, and appropriators aren’t happy with his spending decisions.
To put it mildly, they are not a group known for openly disobeying superiors. Unlike Scalise, who was under intense pressure to resign after only one day, Jordan has over three days to win over his opponents before the scheduled vote on Tuesday. There has been a lot of turmoil, and many people are ready to choose a leader and move on.
The idea that Jordan is trying to muscle his way to the gavel was shot down by someone who is familiar with Jordan’s whip effort. According to this source, when Jordan successfully secured the nomination yesterday, he encouraged sceptical members to call him with their reservations, and to date, not a single lawmaker has notified him that he won’t vote for him on the floor.
To pass the bills that the American people demand, including providing Israel with the resources they need to destroy Hamas, securing the border, and reforming FISA, Chairman Jordan has made it clear that he wants to unite the conference, as stated by spokesman Russell Dye. When he is the keynote speaker, he hopes to collaborate with the rest of the conference to achieve this.