Moderate Republicans stand up to Trump's candidate in the House of Representatives | International

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Electing the president of the House of Representatives had been a formality, almost a procedure, for decades. The majority group met, voted among their candidates and closed ranks with the preferred one. The radical wing of the Republican Party broke with that tradition in January with the election of Kevin McCarthy, continued to disrespect it last week by not accepting Steve Scalise's internal victory and now, it is drinking its own medicine. Moderate Republicans have stood up to what several party congressmen have called “a coup” and have rejected for the second day the extremist candidate, Jim Jordan, the favorite of former President Donald Trump.

As a state wrestling champion in his native Ohio, Jordan compiled an impressive record of 156 wins to one loss while in high school. As a candidate to preside over the House of Representatives, he already has two setbacks. In the second vote, he once again failed to achieve the 217 votes he needed to be elected. speaker. If on Tuesday he obtained 200 supports from his group, this Wednesday he obtained one less. A total of 22 congressmen from his party have turned their backs on him. In the vote, Democrat Hakeem Jeffries surpassed him, with 212 votes, full of his own, but without the possibility of gaining the necessary majority.

To overcome the impasse, Democrats have proposed granting limited powers to acting House Speaker Patrick McHenry, who took the gavel. speaker upon McCarthy's departure and by his appointment, an initiative that could be voted on this Wednesday, although for the moment a recess has been declared. The idea is that the Chamber can function again even if it does not have a permanent president. With this, it could avoid the partial closure of the Administration when, in less than a month, the budget extension approved a few weeks ago expires. It could also process an aid package for Ukraine and Israel that Joe Biden plans to request as soon as it is feasible.

Jordan, 59, has encountered rejection from moderate party colleagues who oppose his election for various reasons. Some represent districts with a centrist electorate, where Biden won in the 2020 election, and believe that electing a Trump-allied election denier could take its toll on them. Another group belongs to the budget commission and sees Jordan as a radical enemy of public spending, even when it is to deal with emergency situations and natural disasters. Some simply refuse to elect a congressman who was singled out by the commission that investigated the assault on the Capitol for his role on January 6, 2021. Jordan supported Trump's efforts to overturn Biden's victory in the elections. 2024.

The moderates have received pressure from the radical wing and conservative media to bow to the Trump candidate, who has never signed any bill in Congress in his more than 16 years as a legislator. He has been more an agent of chaos than a consensus seeker. A previous Republican speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boener, called him a “legislative terrorist.”

Jordan has actually gotten less support from his party than McCarthy had to stay in office. Some congressmen propose that the motion of censure or impeachment, called a motion to vacate the position, be reformed and replaced by a motion of constructive censure, so that this situation of chaos that entails the dismissal of a person does not occur. speaker without there being a majority to elect a replacement.

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The conservative newspaper The Wall Street Journal criticized that attitude in a comment that must have made the ears of Matt Gaetz, the congressman who presented the motion of censure, ring: “What kind of idiotic mutineer takes over a warship, throws the captain overboard and spends two weeks pulling the ropes at random, in the hope that the ship reaches the coast before the supplies run out?,” he said in his editorial this Wednesday.

Governance is further complicated because the Senate has a Democratic majority of 51 to 49, while the House of Representatives, where there are two losses, is dominated by Republicans (221 to 212). For the approval of any law, including budgetary ones, a majority is required in both, which forces negotiations, concessions and compromises, exactly the opposite of what is the record of Jim Jordan, who likes to fight more, like when he was student.

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Nathan Rivera
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