Rep. Jeffries Hints ‘Informal’ Speakership Talks Underway

Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), the minority leader of the House of Representatives, has said that informal talks are continuing for a bipartisan solution to the speakership of the House. He said the Democrats are open to compromise and have no preconditions for talks. But he did say that they wanted to change House procedures so that bills with bipartisan backing could be voted on.

Since a small group of extreme Republicans orchestrated a vote to remove Kevin McCarthy as speaker on October 3, the House has been without a leader. The current favorite is Ohio Republican Representative Jim Jordan, but numerous moderate Republicans have said they won’t back him. Jeffries claimed that the Democrats are not pressing for anything in the negotiations. But he did say that they wanted to change House procedures so that bills with bipartisan backing could be voted on.

Mike Turner, a Republican from Ohio, voted against evicting McCarthy and later expressed his sadness that Democrats had missed an opportunity for collaboration by not rescuing McCarthy. Jeffries claimed that the Republicans were responsible for starting these discussions and that they had publicly and privately emphasized their willingness to establish a bipartisan governing coalition that puts the needs of the American people and the solutions of the hardworking taxpayers of the United States first.

Jeffries, when questioned about the goals of House Democrats in negotiations with House Republicans, said that his caucus’s goal is to ensure that only proposals with substantial bipartisan support are brought to a vote. Since previous Speaker Kevin McCarthy was forced out on October 3 by eight Republican hardliners upset with his leadership, the House has been without a permanent head. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina is the current House Speaker.

Republicans in the House have not agreed on McCarthy’s replacement.

After Majority Leader Steve Scalise withdrew due to lack of support, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) became the second contender to earn his caucus nomination for the job. He will need the support of almost all party members to take the gavel in a vote. As is tradition, every 212 Democrats in the House voted for Jeffries, their leader, to become speaker.

Although moderate Democrats have expressed interest in talks with Republicans, it is still unclear what form any potential compromise may take.