Lawmaker behind speaker unity pledge says rank and file Republicans are ‘sick’ of gavel turmoil

Lawmaker behind speaker unity pledge says rank and file Republicans are ‘sick’ of gavel turmoil

A Republican lawmaker pushing for other conservatives to sign a unity pledge to support whoever becomes the next speaker nominee says that rank and file members are getting sick of the chaos in the House. 

Rep. Mike Flood of Nebraska began pushing a unity pledge after the latest GOP nominee for speaker, Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan of Ohio, was dropped by lawmakers after failing to win the gavel on the House floor. 

Mr. Flood, who described himself as a rank and file member, told The Washington Times that the point of the pledge is to see whether a particular group of lawmakers who have played a part in the speakership chaos will sign on to support the eventual nominee. 

Those lawmakers include anyone who voted to oust former Speaker Kevin McCarthy of California, any of the group that drove the vote to elect Mr. McCarthy to 15 rounds, lawmakers that withheld support for House Majority Leader Steve Scalise and the over two dozen conservatives that voted against Mr. Jordan. 

The pledge is asking members to support whoever wins the nomination on the House floor for as many votes as it takes. If those members don’t sign the pledge, Mr. Flood said he has the option to vote present. 

“You’re getting to the point now where the rank and file, the ones that are always on the team, are sick of it,” Mr. Flood said. “We want to see a change. And when you lose the people that sit quietly and want to be on the team…. and we’re sick of being tossed around like pinballs in this whole situation, then watch us vote present.”

The role of Speaker of the House has been vacant for nearly three weeks. Since then, lawmakers have failed to build unanimous support behind Mr. Scalise and Mr. Jordan, for varying reasons. 

Lawmakers on the more conservative flank of the GOP conference vowed to only vote for Mr. Jordan, a co-founder of the arch-conservative House Freedom Caucus. That entrenched message caused Mr. Scalise to bow out abruptly despite beating Mr. Jordan to earn the speaker nomination. 

Then, lawmakers retaliated against Mr. Jordan, vowing to never vote for him because of how Mr. Scalise was treated and to punish the eight lawmakers who booted Mr. McCarthy. 

Now there are seven candidates vying for the top position in the House. Many, including House Majority Whip Tom Emmer of Minnesota, and Reps. Kevin Hern of Oklahoma, Mike Johnson of Louisiana, Pete Sessions of Texas and Jack Bergman of Michigan have signed on to the pledge. 

Mr. Flood hoped that at least one of those candidates could attract the support of the holdouts that have ground the process to replace Mr. McCarthy to a halt. 

“What I’m asking for is what the House of Representatives has done for over 200 years,” Mr. Flood said.  “And it’s not that much to ask, but in this environment, apparently it is. Because it hasn’t worked very well in the last 20 days and it didn’t work very well in January.”

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