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Jim Jordan

Jordan is probably done. What’s next?

It doesn’t look like Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) is going to be speaker of the House. If it wasn’t obvious to you Tuesday morning when we laid out 10-plus members who were likely to vote no, it should be obvious now.

Jordan lost 20 Republicans on the House floor Tuesday during the speaker tally, netting just 200 votes. He then pushed off another roll-call vote until Wednesday morning as even more Republicans looked ready to go against him. This has been a highly flawed run for the speakership that will be unpacked by aspirants for a long time to come.

The House is scheduled to come in at 11 a.m. for another roll-call vote. But after speaking with dozens of members and aides, it doesn’t look to us like the Ohio Republican has any path to victory.

Jordan’s GOP opponents huddled after the House session Tuesday, and nearly all of them said they were holding firm against the Ohio Republican. Senior GOP lawmakers predicted that Jordan could lose an additional 10 or more Republicans today on the floor.

We’re watching the following lawmakers who may abandon Jordan: GOP Reps. David Joyce (Ohio), Ann Wagner (Mo.), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (Iowa), Beth Van Duyne (Texas) and Drew Ferguson (Ga.). There were a few surprises in the vote Tuesday, so we expect more of that today.

Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.) has switched his vote to Jordan, and Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.), a Jordan backer, will be there today after missing the Tuesday vote.

If Jordan loses support, it would all but doom his effort, despite the strong backing he is getting from conservatives and right-wing media outlets.

Yet if Jordan can’t be speaker, who can?

There’s talk about House Majority Whip Tom Emmer making a run at the speakership. But frankly, if you’re Emmer, why get in a speaker race you are likely to lose with a conference this divided?

Other potential “consensus” candidates have been suggested as well. Reps. Mike Johnson (R-La.), Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), Tom Cole (R-Okla.) and others have been floated. Some GOP lawmakers want to survey the Republican Conference and see if they can come up with some potential choices.

But no Republican is getting 217 votes for speaker at this point. And why run for the mayor of a city that’s just been nuked?

The easiest answer to resolve this crisis is for the House to formally elect Speaker Pro Tem Patrick McHenry to the post. McHenry was appointed to the job by former Speaker Kevin McCarthy. His authority is currently limited to overseeing the election of a new speaker.

Who else would you want to run this mess for the next few months? The 47-year-old North Carolina Republican (PMC turns 48 this weekend) is probably among the savviest inside players in Congress. McHenry started off as a Bush-era rabble-rouser following his initial 2004 election to the House and has slowly morphed into a leadership ally.

McHenry passed on a leadership run this Congress to serve as chair of the Financial Services Committee. But he’s also been one of McCarthy’s consiglieres for months. McHenry helped get McCarthy elected in the first place, and then he and Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.) crafted May’s debt-limit deal. McHenry also aided McCarthy with the motion-to-vacate process.

There are a number of variables here to consider when pondering a McHenry speakership. Someone has to go to the floor with a resolution to formally elect McHenry. And secondly, McHenry can’t be elected speaker. No Republican can.

However, McHenry can be elected speaker pro tem for a limited period of time in order to help the House move past this current stalemate — provided he has Democratic support.

As far as House operations are concerned, there’s essentially no difference between a speaker and a speaker pro tem. There is a question whether a speaker pro tem would be in the presidential line of succession. There are also questions about whether he could take part in other speaker functions that have evolved over the years — Gang of Eight intelligence briefings, for instance.

Yet electing McHenry as speaker pro tem — or anyone else — isn’t establishing a “coalition government,” as some Republicans suggest. Committee ratios won’t change. The makeup of the Rules Committee won’t change. It won’t change what bills get considered. It just means the election of a speaker with a short expiration date. We’ve heard everything from Nov. 17 to Jan. 15. The House would then have to elect another speaker.

Speaker pro tems have been used by the House in the recent past, including the 1990s. Speakers have also been elected by resolution. See Sam Rayburn on that.

Here’s some news: We expect Joyce to file this motion to formally elect McHenry following the second vote on Jordan’s speakership today, assuming that the Ohio Republican falls short. The resolution needs 217 votes, meaning it will almost certainly need Democratic votes to pass. Republicans don’t anticipate negotiating with Democrats over the proposal — at least at the outset. We will have to see how Democrats react to the idea. But Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries has floated the idea of supporting McHenry’s elevation.

A resolution of this nature could make McHenry speaker until the end of 2023 or sometime in early 2024 — or until a new speaker is elected.

And by the way, former speakers Newt Gingrich and John Boehner endorsed McHenry’s candidacy Tuesday night on Twitter — if that matters to you.

As we noted, the House is set to hold another Jordan roll-call vote today. And if that fails, as expected, Republicans will have some very difficult decisions to make.

Biden in Israel: President Joe Biden has arrived in Israel for his day-long trip there. Biden was greeted at the airport by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli President Isaac Herzog.

Biden said that “based on what I’ve seen,” the deadly hospital bombing in Gaza was done “by the other team, not you.”

The hospital attack — which left hundreds dead, including children — has sparked protests against Israel and the United States worldwide and forced the cancellation of Biden’s visit to Jordan during this trip. Hamas blames Israel for the incident.

— Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan

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