House conservatives are heaping criticism on a plan to temporarily empower interim Speaker Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., to move legislation, an effort that’s been gaining momentum as Republicans’ struggle to find a new speaker drags on for over two weeks.
“Oh, Hell no. Hades no,” Rep. Pat Fallon, R-Texas, told reporters when asked about it. Fallon estimated that two-thirds of the Republican conference also don’t back the plan.
Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C., told Fox News Digital he was “opposed” to it as well. He called the plan the creation of a “Democrat-deal speaker” on X.
“It’s now time to get a speaker. And I realized it hasn’t been successful. But it’s time for us to work. It’s got to be done in the Republican caucus,” Norman said.
Both had been supporting Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, for speaker. Jordan failed to clinch a 217-vote majority on two rounds of voting so far, and an expected third round was never formally set as House Republicans huddle for hours behind closed doors trying to plot a path forward.
Now, two sources have confirmed a report to Fox News Digital that Jordan would back a plan to empower McHenry through early January and remain speaker-designate for the time being.
Rep. Greg Murphy, R-N.C., another lawmaker who voted for Jordan twice, said it was time to “move on” as a conference and argued that the McHenry plan would mean other Republicans do not have a fair shot to run for speaker if they wanted to.
“It is enabling one person to continue to try to campaign. Why [can’t] other people campaign at the same time? So I’d find if we basically allowed [McHenry] to do that, is it fair for us to just put all our eggs in one basket, who’s losing votes? Probably not,” Murphy said.
He added that such a plan likely would not pass without Democratic support.
“Voting on a Speaker Pro Tem is distraction from our primary role, and it does create a circumstance where there might, might be more chaos,” Rep. Andy Ogles, R-Tenn., said.
House Freedom Caucus Policy Chair Chip Roy, R-Texas, told reporters, “I’m pretty public, I don’t support it. We should go choose a speaker. That’s what the Constitution tells us to do.”
And Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., predicted that the resolution was dead altogether.
“It’s not going to happen,” Donalds told reporters. “I think that is the decision as I understand it. And I think even Patrick, to his credit and to his fidelity to the U.S. Constitution, we cannot just drop powers in the lap of somebody. We have to elect a speaker.”