Visibly worn-down House Republicans left a closed-door meeting on Monday night intent on forging ahead with a vote for speaker on Tuesday despite lingering opposition to Speaker-designate Jim Jordan, R-Ohio.
‘If Jim Jordan can’t get through, Jesus can’t. So we better figure this out,’ Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., told Fox News Digital after the meeting. ‘I think where we’re at is, that we have to respect in rules in the House. If we do, then we’ll get a leader.’
Rep. Andy Barr, R-Ky., told Fox News Digital, ‘I don’t know why people have it in their head, regardless of what faction they are in with our in our conference, why they think only one person could be a good speaker.’
‘People say, well, if you didn’t support my guy, I’m not gonna support your guy. That doesn’t make sense to me,’ Barr said.
Jordan won the House Republican nomination for speaker in a closed-door, anonymous vote on Friday, but there were at least 55 GOP lawmakers who would not commit to voting for him on the House floor at the time.
He’s managed to whittle that number down significantly. But while smaller, Jordan’s opposition became more distinct, with lawmakers publicly voicing concerns about Jordan after last week’s secret ballot. These opponents could be a problem – Jordan can only lose four Republican votes to still win the speakership if all members are in attendance.
Meanwhile, the House has been paralyzed in the nearly two weeks since ex-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., was ousted by eight members of his own party and all House Democrats.
Jordan himself told reporters on Monday night, ‘I felt good walking into the conference, I feel even better now.’
But some members expressed frustration with how the entire process has gone and suggested it would be enough for them to oppose Jordan on Tuesday. It comes after Jordan and his allies were accused of waging a pressure campaign on holdouts through the weekend.
‘I will tell you that if folks think that they can pressure me, that’s where they lose me,’ Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., told reporters after the meeting. Diaz-Balart said he would be voting for Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., at least in a first-round vote.
Scalise had been House Republicans’ initial speaker-designate until opposition from Jordan supporters forced him to withdraw.
Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., fumed about Scalise’s treatment and said he would also be voting for the Louisiana Republican.
‘When I see what’s going on in that conference, and understand that we had an election, and we elected somebody to be our speaker, and because people in that conference didn’t agree with the election, no, no, no, we’ve got a stop it all now, and we’ve got to have another election?’ Kelly said. ‘The real man in that room was Steve Scalise.’
Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., meanwhile, said he was ‘inclined’ to vote for McCarthy on Tuesday. Like Diaz-Balart he suggested he chafed at pressure from Jordan and his allies.
‘The problem is when you have people that broke the rules, and it put us in the spot now they’re saying you know, we need you to get on board. It doesn’t work for some of us,’ Bacon said. ‘I think normal Americans, we believe in justice. We believe in fairness, rule of law…the majority of us have been stomped on in this. And I’m not going to take it.’
Rep. Carlos Gimenez, R-Fla., similarly said he would support McCarthy for speaker on Tuesday, a position he’s maintained since the California Republican’s ouster.
Meanwhile, Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., one of the eight Republicans who voted to sink McCarthy, said his reservations about Jordan’s opposition to the 2020 election results and alleged role in Jan. 6 would still have to be worked out.
‘Jim is going to come visit after this meeting,’ Buck said. ‘I’m a no right now. But I told him I would be open-minded to having that conversation.’
One GOP lawmaker told Fox News Digital it might ‘take a few’ rounds for Jordan to net the majority needed to be speaker but was confident in his ability to do it.
‘There are a few holdouts, but he’s got tonight, tomorrow morning to work on it, and has a lot of powerful people in his corner,’ the lawmaker said. ‘It might take a few votes, it might not be done on the first on the first ballot, but I think he’s okay with that.’