NOTE: This article was updated at 12:18 p.m. CDT on Friday, Oct. 20.
OMAHA (DTN) -- Republican Rep. Don Bacon of Nebraska said this week some of his fellow House Republicans and their backers "have lost all sense of boundaries" in the push to move Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan into the House Speaker's office.
Bacon also repeatedly called on Jordan to end his bid for the speakership.
Bacon is one of 25 Republicans to vote against Jordan on Friday, Jordan's third vote to win the chair. The Ohio Republican saw the votes against him increase from 20 to 22 to 25 as the week went on. Jordan had 194 votes on Friday. Democrats remain united behind Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., who garnered all 210 votes.
Bacon, along with five other GOP members, voted for Speaker Pro Tem Patrick Henry.
The effort to rally Republicans around Jordan has backfired as multiple House members have reported threats and provided recordings of profanity-laced calls to their spouses.
Bacon said Thursday his wife started sleeping with a loaded gun as threatening calls escalated.
The House again recessed Friday with the GOP once again trying to either coalesce around Jordan, or move on to other options, which is what Bacon would like to see.
Bacon, a retired Air Force brigadier general and a member of the House Agriculture Committee, told a group of Nebraska reporters on Wednesday that the push to get members behind Jordan has become a "real rough and tumble" battle.
"There's been a bullying campaign to corral the votes and they're wrestling with the wrong people," Bacon said of himself and another holdout, Rep. Steve Womack of Arkansas, a retired Army colonel. "It backfires."
Bacon added that eight original Republicans rejected the caucus rules that led to the ouster of Rep. Kevin McCarthy from the Speaker's office nearly three weeks ago. He wants to hold those lawmakers accountable for violating the rules and with essentially a small group of lawmakers holding the majority hostage. "I have an issue on the integrity of how Mr. Jordan got to the spot to be Speaker."
Iowa Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, a Republican who voted against Jordan on Wednesday, and Friday also said she received death threats "and a barrage of threatening calls." Miller-Meeks said she notified authorities about it. "One thing I cannot stomach, or support is a bully," Miller-Meeks said in a statement.
Jordan on Wednesday afternoon posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, "No American should accost another for their beliefs.
"We condemn all threats against our colleagues and it is imperative that we come together.
"Stop. It's abhorrent," Jordan wrote.
Given the voting loggerheads and division within the GOP caucus, Bacon said Republicans need to look beyond Jordan.
"I think it's important for Jim Jordan to step down and say he's not going to run anymore," Bacon said.
The Republican caucus could coalesce around someone such as Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma or Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, now the current temporary Speaker. McHenry right now doesn't have power to move legislation, but Bacon said there is a bill ready to give him more authority. Republicans on Thursday rejected an attempt to bring that bill to the floor when Jordan announced he would try for a third vote.
"They're going to be limited authorities that as speaker pro tem, you can help pass legislation with the continuing resolution, or appropriations bill, aid for Israel, Ukraine and the border," Bacon said. He added McHenry was hesitant to allow the bill to come forward.
Bacon's district around Omaha voted for President Joe Biden over Donald Trump in 2020, but Bacon's votes on the House Speaker have drawn fire from some county Republican groups in Nebraska and the state GOP party, which endorsed Jordan. Bacon said there are lawmakers who are backing Jordan now largely because they are worried about being primaried, but he said he's no concerned about that.
"I see people here in Congress, they're so fearful of a primary or getting beaten in an election," he said. "There are worse things than being beaten in an election. That's not being true to yourself and trying to do the right thing."
Bacon noted that right now, Jordan has a majority of Republicans, but so did McCarthy and Rep. Steve Scalise from Louisiana. Jordan's backers did not stand by the rules then that the caucus backs the majority on the floor.
Right now, there's no immediate impact to the Speaker fight, but there will be wounds and scars within the party. Legislation will wait. The biggest deadline for the House is Nov. 17 when lawmakers will once again either have to come to terms with at least eight unpassed federal spending bills or pass another continuing resolution. Another budget extension is likely needed until at least January. Even then, Bacon noted a small group of Republicans have been trying to add more demands, such as more cuts, than were approved coming out of committee.
"So, it just adds a little more dysfunction to what we were experiencing this summer," he said.
A more immediate concern might be if Israel asks for munitions that requires congressional approval.
Bacon added, "We need to get a farm bill passed, right. So, there would be an impact if we can't get to that."
The bigger issue is the U.S. is the most powerful democracy in the world, "a shining light on the hill," for representative democracy. "And we don't look good right now," he said.
Also see "In Battle for Next Speaker, Trump Backs Jim Jordan, a Farm Bill Critic" here: https://www.dtnpf.com/….
Chris Clayton can be reached at Chris.Clayton@dtn.com
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