Coming together will be a big talking point for an ambitious voting schedule laid out by interim House Speaker Patrick McHenry (R-North Carolina), who hopes a day of campaigning on the floor next Tuesday will be followed by a vote on Wednesday. Rep. Jim Banks (R-Indiana) shared that schedule on Washington Watch last night.
Party unity is just one reason to fill the vacant speaker's chair. The continuing resolution agreed to over the weekend expires on Dec. 16. As interim, McHenry has no authority to advance legislation. Committees are meeting right now, but any real business for the people has essentially stalled.
Banks is in his third two-year term in the House. "We just last Saturday passed a Continuing Resolution. I voted against it, but it passed," he told show host Tony Perkins. "That kept the government open, but the clock is ticking. When that government spending package expires, we have another shutdown fight. This is really important to recognize," he added.
Banks' fellow House members Steve Scalise (Louisiana) and Jim Jordan (Ohio) have announced their intentions to seek the job and have been declared early frontrunners by Axios. Other names have been tossed about, including former president Donald Trump.
"We need someone who can unite the conference, and I think just as important unite the conservative and Republican movement across this country. That's what I think I can do, that's why I'm running for the job," Jordan, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee and chairman of select subcommittee on weaponization of government, said on Fox News Thursday morning.
Republican unity might be easier said than done if party members can't agree on a rules change that made McCarthy's ouster possible. Part of the deal struck to finally get McCarthy over the hump and into the chair in January – after 15 rounds of voting – was that a single dissatisfied House member could call to vacate the chair just as Matt Gaetz did. (See related op-ed by Ben Shapiro)
There's growing support among party moderates to change that rule, but conservative hardliners might be slower to come around, Reuters reported Wednesday.
The rule in its current state has alarming potential, not only for a revolving door in the speaker's position but in the possibility that Democrats – with the help of a small number of Republicans as happened with McCarthy's ouster – could push through a speaker more friendly to their causes.
Avoiding the swishy, pro-abortion, 'America Last' Republican
Banks is cautious about the process – and the "vacate the chair" rule – going forward.
"This is what we have to avoid at all costs. In that scenario a very moderate, swishy, pro-abortion, America Last instead of America First Republican could be installed as the Speaker of the House with the help of the Democrats, and that will set us back in our cause of saving the country. That's why it's important that Republicans unify and come together to elect this speaker – not someone who's going to work with the Democrats to destroy this country," Banks said.
The Indiana Republican has thrown his support firmly behind Jordan (left) for several reasons, but one above all others: "Democrats fear him," he said.
"We need a Speaker of the House who's going to go into that room with President Biden and Chuck Schumer and be one tough negotiator, and that's why I really like Jim Jordan for this job," Banks shared.
"He doesn't back down. He's strong, he's principled. That's why they've literally tried to destroy him over the past several years. They fear Jim Jordan. That's why I feel he would be the best choice for us."
During an interview with Fox News earlier today, Gaetz stated he is "open-minded" about changing the motion-to-vacate rule – and that he would be "honored" to vote for either Jordan or Scalise to replace McCarthy as House speaker.