House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries told CNN on Wednesday that his caucus has not yet made a decision on whether to back a Republican resolution that would assert that interim House Speaker Patrick McHenry has legislative power overseeing the chamber floor on a temporary basis.
Jeffries said the first thing Democrats are aiming to achieve is to stop Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan’s bid for the speakership.
The New York Democrat said that if Ohio Rep. Dave Joyce brings forward his resolution to empower McHenry and attempt to force a vote today, then Democrats would meet behind closed doors and decide whether to vote for it. Democratic votes are expected to be essential for the resolution’s chances of passage because the GOP is split on such a measure.
“We haven’t had that discussion yet as a caucus,” Jeffries told CNN.
“Jim Jordan is still the speaker nominee. And our role is to protect a clear and present danger to our democracy and the poster child for MAGA extremism from becoming the speaker,” Jeffries said.
“The Republicans have to end this saga, as opposed to us having another futile effort to elevate and insurrectionists to lead the House of Representatives,” he added.
House Minority Whip Katherine Clark, the No. 2 Democrat in the chamber, told CNN that Democrats hope Republicans will come to them after Jordan’s second failed speakership bid.
“The ball is in their court. This is their civil war. They’re the majority. They have to elect a speaker,” Clark told CNN.
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also said that it’s up to Republicans to make the first move.
“They have their majority, they won the election. It’s their responsibility to elect their speaker,” the California Democrat said. “Our leader, Hakeem Jeffries, has been magnificent in saying there’s a path for us to work together. But clearly they have not taken advantage of that.”
Pelosi also called it a “real triumph for democracy” that Jordan lost the floor vote today.
“Really, it’s a big relief that whatever his name is didn’t win today, because it would have been a horrible thing. Two steps away from the presidency,” she told CNN.