By Stacy M. Brown
NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
In the midst of an internal civil war, Republicans in Congress are facing a critical juncture that may necessitate an unprecedented alliance with Democrats to elect a new House Speaker. The recent ousting of GOP Rep. Kevin McCarthy has left Congress without a Speaker during a pivotal time, prompting Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, to assert that a deal “will have to be done” with Democrats if Republicans cannot reach a consensus on their own.
On Sunday, on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Turner contemplated the possibility of Republicans cooperating with Democrats to select a “mutually acceptable speaker.” While Turner preferred a Republican solution and endorsed Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, as a strong candidate, he acknowledged that the path forward might entail crossing party lines.
“I think he’ll be able to get to 217,” Turner affirmed regarding Jordan’s potential support. “If not, we have other leaders in the House. And certainly, if there is a need if the radical, you know, almost just handful of people in the Republican side … to make it for us unable to be able to return to general work on the House, then I think obviously, there will be a deal that will have to be done.”
Turner and other Republicans proposed the idea of a coalition speaker as a strategy to persuade GOP holdouts to support their preferred nominee. House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., countered these suggestions on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” emphasizing that there have been no substantive discussions on that prospect. Jeffries added that should such an arrangement be considered, Democrats would insist on rule changes to ensure that bipartisan bills receive due consideration.
“We want to ensure that votes are taken on bills that have substantial Democratic support and substantial Republican support so that the extremists aren’t able to dictate the agenda,” Jeffries asserted.
Supporters of Jordan have employed assertive strategies to secure votes for his speakership bid, recognizing a floor vote as a potent means to exert pressure on centrists or politically vulnerable Republicans. This pivotal vote could occur as early as Tuesday, Oct. 17.
Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., an initial opponent of Jordan’s bid, reversed his stance, citing constructive conversations about advancing critical bills. “As a result, I have decided to support Jim Jordan for Speaker of the House on the floor,” Rogers announced.
The historic removal of Speaker McCarthy by a narrow six-vote margin, with a handful of conservatives aligning with Democrats, underscores the depth of the internal strife within the Republican Party. “House Republicans have selected as their nominee to be the speaker of the people’s House the chairman of the chaos caucus, a defender in a dangerous way of dysfunction, and an extremist extraordinaire,” Jeffries said of Jordan. “His focus has been on peddling lies and conspiracy theories and driving division amongst the American people.”