A 3-way game of chicken is underway in Congress as Jim Jordan gets 199 votes for Speaker in the second round

By Robert Willmann

Sure enough, once again Speaker pro tempore of the U.S. House of Representatives Patrick McHenry put the session in recess on Wednesday, 18 October 2023, without allowing additional rounds of voting, after a second vote for a new Speaker ended with Jim Jordan getting 199 votes from Republicans. Every single one of the 212 Democrats, as before, voted against him, and a smattering of resentful Republicans also voted against him.

What is evolving is a 3-way game of chicken between Jordan and his large number of Republican supporters; all of the Democrats; and 22 Republicans, some of whom are clutching knives to try to get revenge for Kevin McCarthy being booted out as Speaker back on 3 October, and for Steve Scalise being thwarted in his effort to get enough support from fellow Republicans to become Speaker. When Scalise got a narrow majority in a meeting of Republicans on 11 October, he tried to gather additional support to go to a vote on the floor, but was unsuccessful, and formally dropped out the next day [1]. Jordan then stepped in.

The Acting Clerk of the House of Representatives on 2 October 2023 compiled a list of House members. The total is 433, because David Cicilline of the Rhode Island 1st District (Dem) and Chris Stewart of the Utah 2nd District (Repub) resigned in 2023 and a successor has not been sworn in. This is the first page of his list–

With the Democrats marching in lockstep with 212, Jordan (or someone else) will need 217 votes, because the total number of Republicans is 221, with a full quorum of the House. Thus, a Republican candidate can only lose four Republican votes in order to maintain 217 and be elected Speaker.

In the first public vote on 17 October, Jordan received 200 votes. For the quorum call, Republican Gus Bilirakis of Florida did not show up. Of the remaining Republicans, 20 did not vote for Jordan, with the main knife wielders being Steve Scalise of Louisiana, who got 7 votes, and Kevin McCarthy of California, who got 6 votes. Lee Zeldin, who is no longer in Congress from New York, got 3 votes from New York Republicans Nick LaLota, Andrew Garbarino, and Anthony D’Esposito. The final 4 — Ellzey, Buck, James, and Spartz — voted for separate individuals.

In the next day’s vote on 18 October, Jordan got 199 votes. This time everyone appeared, as Donald Payne of New Jersey (Dem) did not show up for the quorom call but did for the vote. The 212 Democrats were present and voted against Jordan. As on the previous day, Scalise received 7 votes and Zeldin 3, and McCarthy got 5, because Doug LaMalfa of California left him to go to Jordan. Three of the voters who voted for individuals other than Jordan did so again, as did 4 others. Thus, there were 22 Republicans against Jordan on 18 October, but Jordan received 199 votes instead of 198 because Bilirakis showed up to vote for him.

Here are the two recorded roll call votes–

Looking at the vote to remove McCarthy as Speaker on 3 October 2023, all the Democrats present voted to remove him along with 8 Republicans. Four Democrats and 3 Republicans did not vote. The result was 216-210.

You can see from this material what a tight and fluid situation this is. The procedural rules of the House give the Speaker exceptional authority. That was one of the issues that caused the protracted selection process for Kevin McCarthy, and some things were modified that could change the modern equivalent of the smoke-filled back room. Unfortunately, some House Democrats will not think and act independently on the selection of a Speaker. As long as they let themselves be beaten down by the Democratic leadership, everything shifts to five Republicans being able to block a new Republican Speaker. In this context, I think that the Democrats are missing an opportunity to help get a Speaker who can address the extremely difficult economic situtuation facing the “middle class” and “working people”, who have been abandoned by the Democratic Party.

Earlier today an effort was made to force an agreement to let Patrick McHenry stay on longer as Speaker pro tempore, to preside over legislation for the time being. Although a Republican, he is a close friend of McCarthy and was very angry that his friend, who had appointed him as Speaker pro tempore if required, was removed. This would have brought about more Uni-Party activity. But that effort has fizzled out.

Jim Jordan has decided to continue the fight to be Speaker. After all, he has had right at 200 votes behind him.

As always, art and music best illustrate all things. This 1972 pop music hit by the O’Jays shines a light on the United States Congress. The Back Stabbers–


[1] http://www.npr.org/2023/10/12/1205627746/scalise-drops-out-of-race-for-speaker-of-the-house-leaving-congress-in-limbo

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28 Responses to A 3-way game of chicken is underway in Congress as Jim Jordan gets 199 votes for Speaker in the second round

  1. jerseycityjoan says:

    When you think about this situation, the other ridiculous things in DC, the real enemies we have out there watching us and the defense and total US budget we borrow so much to pay for —

    The obvious question is how much longer can things go on like this?

    When is the music going to stop for us and everything hit the fan?

  2. TV says:

    More proof that ANYONE in elected office is not qualified to be there.
    Remember, politicians were the obnoxious kids in high school who never got over the thrill of being class secretary.

  3. babelthuap says:

    They can’t technically bankrupt the US anymore than they already have without a speaker. Not sure how this is not a win. Needs to go on another 20 years. Maybe it goes into the the Senate. Even better. President can’t do anything but stare at the walls which is even better that the previous better situations. We all win.

    • F&L says:

      Roll Call – Number of chromosomes of animals and plants in increasing order.
      Scroll to 38 and compare all those. Or all the plants at 40.

      Or how about that both Elm and Elephant have 56 – why mention? Both begin with El. El M and El Ephant. There’s some Arabic for you.
      56 chromosomes
      An elephant is a diploid animal with 56 chromosomes (28 pairs) in each of its somatic cells.
      https://www.cliffsnotes.com › Biology
      1. An elephant is a diploid animal with 56 chromosomes (28 pairs)…

      Elm 56 chromosomes
      Flowering and fruiting.
      American elm has twice as many chromosomes( 2n=56) as the other elm species common to North America, making it hard to cross-pollinate different species to impart disease resistance to American elm ( Burns and Honkala 1990).

      My mind went from the O’Jays to Orange Juice and then to Orange trees. From the Fla – Florida in Flavius Josephus.

      This is as you – only person here – mention, barely still a great country because of our educational institutions, not because of these sorry grandstanding twerps in Congress or any of the mental cases running our media.

  4. Fred says:

    I see of twit/X that my representative in Congress had time for bowling and dancing in the Whitehouse basement, but I have not seen nor heard of him defending our own border. He “first to flee”, from having a Republican speaker. What’s he going to get from this, other than more money for Ukraine?

  5. Fred says:

    I see that the experts on X are pointing out that a number of holdouts against Jordan recieved donations from FTX. Democrats breathe a sigh of relief and none ask why this wasn’t an issue months ago….

    • F&L says:

      Fred –
      From Patty Murray’s broker?

    • leith says:

      X? Are they getting that from the Gateway Pundit? If so it’s most likely road apples. Only two of the 25 that voted against Jordan are on the House Financial Services Committee where the bulk of FTX political campaign donations went. Back when the wunderkind was trying to get favorability for cryptocurrency.

  6. Lesly says:

    The DNC was supposed to be in disarray. Well, they are, a little, since The Squad is fracturing on Israel.

    But the House can’t elect a speaker and McCarthy goes on CNN blaming Dems for the chaos after he supposedly made concessions to the Gaetz/Trump Wing and got shown the door by the same, promised Dems to fund government through Q4 2024 and caved, etc.

    Neither party wants bipartisanship, to compromise. The GOP has the majority. They can figure it out on their own.

  7. Lars says:

    The GOP dodged a bullet with the demise of Jim Jordan as speaker, for which he was uniquely unqualified. I guess enough Republicans realized this. He would have been a huge gift to the Democrats in the next election and he still could. Obviously there is a great void in the GOP House leadership and they are finding out how poorly extremism is considered in general. Too bad that there are not enough principled conservatives around anymore. They could be useful, if there were some to be found.

    • Keith Harbaugh says:

      What extremism?
      You seem to be employing a tactic of the real extremists,
      the people who have subverted and corrupted America’s traditional values.
      The people that are so opposed to the values and cultural climate of the 1950s.
      An example of that climate, a song that was popular back then:
      “Love and marriage …” sung by Old Blue Eyes:

      Orwellian language is unfortunately commonplace now.
      E.g., calling genital mutilation “health care”, and thereby getting society in the large to pay for it.
      What a crock.

      BTW, did you consider Jim Jordan an “extremist”?
      If so, why, might I ask?

      • TTG says:

        Keith Harbaugh,

        Why would the values and cultural climate of the 1950s define American traditional values? Why not the 1790s, the 1820s, the 1900s, 1920s or any other decade in our history? BTW, genital mutilation in the form of male circumcision became mainstream in the US in the 1950s.

      • Lars says:

        Extremism is essentially a political term which determines the activities that are not in accordance with norms of the state, are fully intolerant toward others, reject democracy as a means of governance and the way of problem solving and also reject the existing social order. Jim Jordan exemplifies this. In 16 years, in Congress, he has yet to sponsor any legislation that became law. He is all about political theater on TV and even some of his party members are realizing this and have put a stop to his act.

    • Al says:

      If the Speaker stalemate goes on and on, the Repub House members from “Biden vote” districts might as well deal with the Dems, even at risk being ran against heavily in Repub primary. Dems will certainly ask for concessions.

  8. F&L says:

    I’m beginning to suspect that this speakership drama is actually the enactment of another script written by playwrights of the Gaza Theatrical Tragedian Mouseketeers – because I’m reading about Israeli armour losses on Telegram but not seeing it told in the NYTIMES at all. It’s all Jordan’s boat capsizing on the internet edition for 5 stories down from the top story. Two different worlds. This is an intentional distraction.

    I’ll tell you why it matters more than “shucks, you should report the news please mister.”
    Because taking big losses could draw us in if they get blasted and attritted. So it’s dirty pool anyway but this is not on a slop bar table.

    • TTG says:


      I’m taking those reported losses with a grain of salt. Much like the bombing of the Baptist Hospital, there are stories for everyone and they all contradict each other.

      • F&L says:

        Probably right. The numbers are hard to believe, the only thing that gave me pause was claims that it was the work of UAVs which lent them credibility in light of the armour columns of the film “Kiev in 3 days,” directed by Cecille B Deeputin of Gremlin studios.

        • TTG says:


          The Merkava has been touted as a well protected tank. That may be true for conventional, ground level attacks from ATGMs and other AT rounds. But I doubt they are well protected from top down attacks like drones. If Hamas and Hezbollah have ATGMs that function like the Javelin, the Merkavas are doubly screwed. They have the Trophy active protection system, but is probably not effective against top attack drones. I’ve seen photos of cope cages installed on some Merkavas.

    • F&L says:

      Sorry, forgot to include a sample video on earlier post, this is one of several, however obviously propagandist.


  9. rick says:

    Who would have thought that voting for a bunch of performing trolls whose whole brand is performance trolling would have such dire consequences for a party?

    I did submit the comment on this very page that Trump and Trumpism might just destroy the republican party for a generation, but that was back when such comments did not clear moderation.

    I say to the Trumpista/Freedom Caucussers the same thing IU said to Nader voters in 2000, “Are you happy? Did you send your message?”

    • ked says:

      hyper-emotional extremist movements might succeed at revolution while failing at management. the emotion + narrow skill-set yields internecine warfare over personal domination & revolutionary purity & even actual interests.

      years ago on SST I offered that trump’s nomination would trigger an implosion of the gop. it had too long become a minority coalition of exclusive, contradictory interests. his victory delayed that. it also made even more manifest the incoherence of Lincoln’s Party. Nietzsche would’ve loved it; “the corrupt vs the insane”… w/ God departing the sidelines.

      it’s obvious both parties have exceeded their shelf lives. concentrated forces of command & control have kept their bodies alive. empty vessels nearing hospice… let them go.

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