Over the past month, the Republicans in the House of Representatives have been divided. Well, sort of. Nine Republicans refused to support former Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy during a vote on the House floor, which led to McCarthy losing his grip on the top spot.
“When Rep. Matt Gaetz led his crazy eight Republican comrades to join with the entire Democratic caucus to eject Rep. Kevin McCarthy from the House speakership,” explains The Washington Examiner, “the Florida rabble-rouser claimed to do so in the name of reducing federal spending, saying, “I don’t think the adult in the room would allow America to sit atop a $33 trillion debt facing $2.2 trillion annual deficits.” Two weeks, two failed speakership votes, two speaker nominees later, and Gaetz’s hand-picked successor to McCarthy is now promising to overturn one of Donald Trump’s marquee achievements in deficit reduction in exchange for winning the speakership.”
Jim Jordan was offering to expand the SALT deduction to secure the speaker's gavel, just like he tried to sell out the American people and steal the 2020 election from his powerful perch in DC. Jim Jordan epitomizes the swamp, as does Kevin Roberts. https://t.co/BEkLvYLCij
— Isaac Schorr (@isaac_schorr) October 19, 2023
After two votes, however, Jordan has failed to win the Speakership, and now it’s looking like conservatives may have dodged a bullet. In his attempt to claim the brass ring, Jordan has sold out conservatives.
It was already abundantly clear to any neutral observer of the chaos that has plagued the House for the better part of a month that the internecine squabble over the provision of material support to Ukraine was a red herring. Hours after Kevin McCarthy secured the terms of a deal to keep the government’s lights on that deprived Ukraine of additional funding, he was summarily ousted from the Speakership by his unappeasable colleagues. If any further evidence was needed to prove that Ukraine aid was not a hill the MAGA right was willing to hold at all costs, Jordan has subordinated his opposition to future disbursements to Kyiv in exchange for the vote of his conference’s more hawkish members, writes The National Review.
“Four House Republicans walked away from conversations with House GOP speaker nominee Jim Jordan under the impression he’ll allow a floor vote on linking Ukraine funding with Israel funding if he wins the gavel,” Axios reported earlier this week. The suggestion represents not just a concession to Jordan’s fellow Republicans but also to the Biden White House, which has sought precisely the same coupling of military aid for Ukraine and Israel.
But that didn’t do the trick, so Jordan went back to the well and produced another concession — one designed to appease the Republican members in blue states such as California and New York, who have been particularly cold to Jordan’s speakership bid.
According to California Representative Mike Garcia, Jordan promised to put the state and local tax (SALT) deduction cap on the table. Indeed, according to Garcia, Jordan was willing to boost the cap to $20,000 for individuals and $40,000 for joint filers, up from the $5,000 limit on individuals and $10,000 for couples — a reform the House Freedom Caucus enthusiastically backed when it was implemented as part of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Nor was this just some handshake deal that could be dispensed with at some later date. “Garcia said Ways and Means Chair Jason Smith (R-Mo.) backed Jordan’s offer,” Bloomberg News reported.
The cap on state and local taxes was a huge win for conservatives and President Trump. Adding hundreds of billions more to the deficit would be tough for any budget hawk to take.
This proposal would cost about $54 billion through 2025 and mostly help those earning over $100,000 annually. pic.twitter.com/25T2C7Ekxf
— Garrett Watson (@GS_Watson) October 18, 2023
The Examiner analyzed Jordan’s proposal: “As a matter of pure deficit reduction, Trump’s SALT cap reduced the deduction’s cost to Uncle Sam from $104 billion in 2017 to just $10 billion in losses in 2018, with the Joint Committee on Taxation estimating the cap saves the government nearly $700 billion from its inception to the major TCJA expirations in 2027. While Trump wasn’t merely concerned with deficit reduction, he wisely used those spending cuts to pay for tax code simplification, tax breaks for the middle class, and most crucially, lowering the corporate tax rate to the OECD average, which spurred overall economic growth, the Examiner continues.
So in the name of winning a speakership that Gaetz only blew up in the name of deficit reduction, Jordan wanted to sacrifice a signature accomplishment of his presidential favorite. Furthermore, he wanted to do so in a way that would cut a massive tax break for rich residents of Democratic-run oligarchies while penalizing red state residents and the middle class.
If the political capital of Biden-district Republicans must be spent on anything, it should be on abolishing the SALT deduction entirely, not on forcing through Jordan to a speakership he cannot win. That Jordan saw the reverse as ideal says much about the lamentable state of the Republican Party as a whole and its House agents in particular.”
The congressman from Ohio and chairman of the committee investigating Biden’s weaponization of the government had hoped to make Patrick McHenry a temporary Speaker of the House until January in order to give him more time to buy votes, but his effort has failed.
“Jordan, the GOP’s latest nominee for Speaker who lost two rounds of votes this week, had floated the idea of temporarily empowering McHenry while he worked to shore up enough support for his own candidacy, according to three sources. The plan would have empowered McHenry until January, the sources said, allowing legislative business to continue in the face of two wars and a looming government shutdown,” according to NBC News.
But leaving a lengthy closed-door meeting with GOP members on Thursday, Jordan said that empowering McHenry was not a viable option. He said it was a way to “lower the temperature and get back to work” but “we decided that wasn’t where we’re gonna go.”
Jordan reiterated that he was not planning to drop out of the race.”
“I’m still running for speaker and I plan to go to the floor and get the votes and win this race,” Jordan told reporters on Capitol Hill.
The House’s leadership vacuum has prevented Congress from acting on legislative business, noted Reuters.
This week, President Biden is reportedly seeking approval from Congress for funding to Ukraine and Israel, with a proposed amount of up to $60 billion and $10 billion respectively. Additionally, funding for U.S. government operations is set to expire in less than a month.
Currently, there is no Speaker of the House, which means that despite the crises facing the world, Republicans do not have the third in line to the presidency.