Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) (R) talks to Speaker Pro Tempore Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) as the House of Representatives prepares to hold a vote on a new Speaker of the House at the U.S. Capitol on October 18, 2023 in Washington, DC. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) failed in his bid to become Speaker of the House on Tuesday after all Democrats and 20 members of his own party declined to vote for him. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
As Republicans in the House continue to quarrel over who should replace ousted Speaker Kevin McCarthy, on Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly (R-16th District) was the only remaining GOP member of Pennsylvania’s Congressional delegation to vote against Ohio Republican Jim Jordan’s bid for the role.
Kelly, who voted for Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) on Tuesday, voiced support for former House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) in a vote on Wednesday.
Jordan, who is a co-founder of the conservative Freedom Caucus, needs 217 votes to be elected Speaker of the U.S. House. On Tuesday, he received 200 votes and on Wednesday, he received 199 votes. House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York received 212 votes on both ballots.
Twenty-two Republicans voted against Jordan on the second ballot on Wednesday, up from the 20 who opposed him on Tuesday. Jordan appeared undeterred by the second rejection, telling reporters after Wednesday’s vote that even though he ended up with a lower total than the day before “those people we lost … they voted for us before so we just gotta continue.”
In a statement on Tuesday, Kelly said he voted for Scalise instead of Jordan because he believed that Scalise “deserved a full vote on the House floor.” He added that it “has nothing to do with Jim Jordan. This has to do with the integrity of the House Republican Conference.”
On Monday night, Kelly introduced House Resolution 787, which would elect U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) as Speaker Pro Tempore for up to 30 days and expand his powers in the temporary role. Kelly’s resolution would potentially allow Congress to function until the next Speaker is selected.
Roll Call reported on Tuesday that Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-1st District) “expressed interest in backing” Kelly’s resolution to expand McHenry’s powers.
The seven other members of Pennsylvania’s Republican delegation, including Fitzpatrick, voted for Jordan on both ballots.
Fitzpatrick, co-chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus and the lone Republican representing a district that President Joe Biden won in 2020, blamed House Democrats and the eight Republicans who voted to oust former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) for the current “chaos” in the U.S. House, in a statement on Tuesday.
“And they have now left the rest of us with no other option other than to immediately fill the Speaker vacancy with the first Member of the Majority who can garner 217 votes,” Fitzpatrick said. “Whoever this person is will be a direct consequence of the 208 + 8 who decided to punish bipartisanship and throw the People’s house into chaos.”
Fitzpatrick’s vote for Jordan immediately resulted in pushback from Democrats.
“Once again, Brian Fitzpatrick has shown he lacks political courage,” Ashley Ehasz, Democratic candidate for Pennsylvania’s 1st Congressional District, said in a press release on Tuesday. “After years of paying lip service to bipartisanship, Fitzpatrick doubled down on his drive to the right wing of the Republican party by voting for Trump’s hand-picked Speaker.”
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said in a memo Tuesday it was “committed to ensuring that every battleground Member of the Republican conference who stands and votes for a Speaker Jordan will be making a career ending move.”
Fitzpatrick and Rep. Scott Perry (R-10th District) are among the 33 seats that the DCCC is specifically targeting in the 2024 cycle.
SUPPORT NEWS YOU TRUST.
Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.