House Republicans to vote on empowering Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry : NPR

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Republicans are discussing a plan to empower Speaker Pro Tem Patrick McHenry, R-NC, to allow the House to complete basic functions while the race for Speaker continues.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

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J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Republicans are discussing a plan to empower Speaker Pro Tem Patrick McHenry, R-NC, to allow the House to complete basic functions while the race for Speaker continues.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

House Republicans are considering giving additional powers to Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., as the conference remains unable to elect a permanent speaker while a government funding deadline approaches.

House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, will not call for a third vote on his nomination to be Speaker of the House after losing in two rounds of voting earlier this week. But he is not dropping out of the race. He plans to remain the party’s designated nominee, according to a source familiar with his plans.

Republicans are now debating a plan to vote on a resolution to empower McHenry to bring legislation to the floor until January. Members have not yet agreed on the details but supports of the plan hope McHenry could over see votes on spending bills or a short-term funding measure to avoid a government shutdown. Current government funding expires on Nov. 17.

While Jordan has thrown his support behind the general idea of temporarily empowering McHenry, a number of his supporters have voiced strong opposition. That means the measure would likely need significant Democratic support in order to pass.

Some Democrats have signaled they would be open to an arrangement, if McHenry made some commitments. In a letter obtained by NPR, four Democrats in the moderate Problem Solvers Caucus proposed McHenry could be empowered to pass a continuing resolution to avoid a shutdown, supplemental aid funding for Ukraine and Israel, and government funding bills only.

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Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., said the proposal would be “handing our majority back over to the Democrats by going along with a power sharing agreement.”

“It’s the biggest FU to Republican voters I’ve ever seen,” Banks told reporters. “That is a historic betrayal to our Republican voters if we go along with it. It’s a big mistake.”

Rep. Greg Murphy, R-N.C., said he was leaning toward opposing the plan.

“We need a speaker,” he said. “I do believe there are other folks in the room there that can get 217 [votes].”

Rep. Mario Diaz Balart, R-Fla., who has voted against Jordan for speaker, said he has not seen specific details of a proposal, but called the idea of empowering McHenry “very, very interesting.”

“Generally speaking, I think it’s important to get our agenda back on track. It’s pretty clear that we have an impasse right now with the speaker race….so I think we need to find a temporary way to move our agenda forward,” he told reporters.

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