Political pundits, journalists and people chiming in on social media have all demonstrated there is a budding movement to make Hakeem Jeffries, a Democratic Congressman from New York, the next Speaker of the House of Representatives, which is currently controlled by Republicans.
The new development comes amid Republican infighting that resulted in this week’s abrupt ouster of California Rep. Kevin McCarthy, whose brief reign as House Speaker ruffled feathers on both sides of the political aisle.
Jeffries – who is currently the Houe Minority Leader, the highest position held by a Black person in the House in either party – likely has long odds to be voted Speaker of the House. But as the slate of suspected white supremacist Republican Congressmembers declaring their candidacy for the role comes into shape, the choice of Jeffries over people who have been at least racist-adjacent could become increasingly appealing to those looking for stability in the U.S. Capitol.
As a result, Jeffries has been fundraising “to prove that Democrats are united and ready to deliver For The People” while the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) has been lobbying for the 53-year-old Brooklynite to be the next Speaker of the House.
“The American people have had enough,” CBC Chair and Nevada Congressman Steven Horsford said in a statement sent to NewsOne earlier this week. “If the Republicans are not ready to govern, they can step aside and allow Democrats to elect Hakeem Jeffries as Speaker, and let us get to work on behalf of the American people.”
Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Presley echoed that sentiment in a social media post on Tuesday.
“Republicans, you’re welcome to join us and vote for Hakeem Jeffries for Speaker of the House,” Pressley wrote.
The prospects of replacing McCarthy with a Republican are daunting from the aspect that it took a historic number of votes to get him elected to the position in the first place back in January. With what appears to be an even more divided caucus of House Republicans now, some members of the conservative Party may be apt to vote for Jeffries, the New Republic speculated.
That speculation has been bolstered as more Democrats rally around Jeffries being the next Speaker of the House.
“If this is a protracted process, the margins are so thin, I wouldn’t rule that out,” Virginia Rep. Gerry Connolly said about the prospect of Republicans supporting Jeffries in a House vote. “I’d give it a slim chance today, but ask me again in four weeks if we haven’t elected a speaker.”
To be elected House Speaker, Jeffries would need at least 217 votes from the 433 U.S. Representatives, 221 of whom are Republicans – an advantage of nine over House Democrats.
Republicans vying for the position include Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise and Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, both of whom have been accused of courting white supremacists, among other notable alleged transgressions. In an example of how disjointed the Party has become, Donald Trump’s name has also been floated by Republicans.
The Republican Party has been splintered by various factions like the so-called House Freedom Caucus which includes far-right, MAGA-sympathizing members like Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, the latter of whom forced the vote that led to McCarthy’s ouster. That lack of unity could very well result in the Republican-controlled House electing a Democrat as Speaker.
Even Bill Kristol, a conservative writer who identifies as a Republican, predicted that Jeffries would become the next House Speaker.
“When Hakeem Jeffries is elected Speaker next week with moderate Republican support, he should restore to Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer their Capitol hideaways—and also follow House custom and courtesy in providing a hideaway to former Speaker McCarthy,” Kristol posted on the app formerly known a Twitter. “In victory, magnanimity.”
Jeffries was in January nominated by Democrats to be House Speaker as Republicans repeatedly tried to block McCarthy’s election.
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