Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio was seen in an animated discussion with Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, Wednesday moments before the House began its fourth vote in two days to select the next House speaker.
It is unknown what was discussed, but after they spoke Roy nominated Florida Congressman Byron Donalds for speaker, switching his nomination from Jordan the day before.
The two lawmakers are members of the House Freedom Caucus and friends, but they are on opposite sides of the speakership election. Jordan supports Republican leader Kevin McCarthy for speaker and Roy is among 20 GOP lawmakers who voted for other candidates. All Democrats support their conference leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y. to be the next House speaker.
On Tuesday, the House voted three times and no candidate earned enough votes to win the job. McCarthy is opposed by Roy and other hardline conservatives who say he will not commit to rules changes and process reforms that would decentralize power in the House. The holdouts nominated Jordan for speaker on the second and third ballot, but the Ohio lawmaker is set to lead the House Judiciary Committee and does not want the job.
Roy nominated Jordan for speaker ahead of the third vote. ‘The fact is, this place has to change. It has to change. And the change comes by either adopting rules and procedures that will make us actually do our job, or it comes from leadership,’ he said.
In a floor speech Tuesday, Jordan nominated McCarthy to be speaker, telling his colleagues that the differences Republicans have over their leadership ‘pale in comparison to the differences between us and the left.’
‘We need to rally around him,’ Jordan said of McCarthy as he outlined the priorities for the 118th Congress. Those priorities include passing bills that ‘fix the problems’ related to immigration, energy policy, education policy and inflation; prevent massive spending packages from getting through; and conducting oversight and investigations.
‘That’s what the American people want us to do. They want us to fight for the things they care about, and they elected us to do,’ Jordan said. ‘We should all remember — only about 12,000 people have ever had the opportunity to do what we’re doing today — sit in this body, serve in this Congress.’
The third vote came out 203 for McCarthy, 20 for Jordan, and 212 for Jeffries.
McCarthy came up short again on the fourth ballot Wednesday, with all 20 of the Freedom Caucus dissenters supporting Donalds. The vote totals were unchanged, save for Donalds earning votes instead of Jordan.
McCarthy can only lose four GOP votes and win the minimum 218 needed to be elected House speaker. The vote result Wednesday shows that McCarthy has not yet made any significant progress convincing the group of hardline Republicans to support him, and also signaled that these members appear to prefer anyone to McCarthy.
Fox News’ Brooke Singman and Kelly Laco contributed to this report.