House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan will cancel the third vote to elect a speaker in the House of Representatives and will back a move to empower House Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry until January, Fox News Digital has confirmed.
Jordan lost support on the second ballot Wednesday — scoring only 199 votes after getting only 200 in the first ballot.
He needed 217 to become speaker and could afford few Republican defections. Fox News was told he was expected to lose further votes in a ballot on Thursday.
A source familiar told Fox News Digital that Jordan will not hold a third vote as speaker and will get behind the plan to temporarily empower McHenry until January 3.
The source said Jordan will remain the House GOP nominee for speaker and will continue to run and attempt to shore up votes until then — a move sources had signaled would be in the best interest of Jordan’s candidacy Wednesday.
Jordan’s team had said they intended to keep going with a third vote, with supporters optimistic that he could gain support. However, there had also been other potential candidates emerging from the wings amid the stalemate.
Republicans had held a closed-door meeting at 11 a.m. amid escalating tensions within the House GOP, with several of Jordan’s critics stating that they had gotten credible threats because they did not vote for him for speaker. Jordan has repeatedly condemned those threats.
It became clear this week that some Republican lawmakers were looking for alternate paths, including how to empower McHenry, who is currently serving as interim speaker.
Rep. Dave Joyce, R-Pa., chairman of the Republican Governance Group, has been calling to flesh out McHenry’s role in leadership, particularly in light of the urgency for Congress to approve aid for Israel as it fights a war with terror group Hamas.
The idea also gained steam among lawmakers who voted against Jordan. Rep. Carlos Gimenez, R-Fla., who has said he will keep voting for McCarthy on the House floor, told Fox News Digital that he was supportive of the effort.
The discussions come as the House of Representatives wades in unchartered territory following Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s ouster earlier this month. McCarthy’s removal was the first in the chamber’s history — and it’s not clear that McHenry’s current powers extend beyond just overseeing the election of the next speaker.
McHenry had said that he had no interest in the role of speaker, but amid heightened tensions in the GOP conference, he has emerged as a consensus candidate that at least some Democrats could agree to.
Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., said McHenry was ‘respected on our side of the aisle’ when asked on Tuesday evening if he could be a viable candidate. Jeffries also said there were ‘informal conversations’ about making a deal on a GOP speaker that he hoped would ‘accelerate’ after Jordan’s rocky performance.
On Tuesday night, former Republican Speakers Newt Gingrich and John Boehner both endorsed the idea of empowering McHenry.
Still, sources told Fox News Digital that Jordan has a path to the speakership, with some suggesting he just simply may need more time to garner support. That source said a temporary solution could help Jordan do just that.
The uncertainty in the House comes after Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., earlier this month, introduced a motion to vacate against then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. When all Democrats and eight Republicans voted together, McCarthy was ousted from his post — a first in United States history.