October 17, 2023

STATEMENT: Institute for Responsive Government Decries Failure to Elect House Speaker Amid Ongoing Partisan Division

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) loses election to House Speaker 200 to 20, leaving House of Representatives leaderless for more than two weeks. 

For Immediate Release:
October 17, 2023


Chicago, IL — On Tuesday afternoon, a narrow majority of the United States House of Representatives voted not to appoint Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) as House Speaker, two weeks after the ousting of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-FL). Jordan fell short of the majority of votes needed from Republicans 200 affirmative to 20 against. The vote continues a period of intense turmoil that has left the House of Representatives leaderless for more than 14 days, in the midst of unprecedented international crises and an approaching deadline to pass a federal funding bill.

Jordan’s predecessor, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, was ousted just days after Congress narrowly averted a government shutdown by passing a stopgap funding bill, marking the first time in history that the House of Representatives has removed its leader. McCarthy was removed primarily by members of his own party who threatened to oust him if he took steps to reach a bipartisan spending deal. 

Failure to prevent a shutdown would have had grave repercussions for over a million federal employees and military troops; key government services like food assistance, air travel security, and IRS functions; and the U.S. economy at large. Congress now has until November 17 to pass a new federal spending bill.

Sam Oliker-Friedland, executive director of the Institute for Responsive Government, issued the following statement:

“With today’s vote, House representatives have once again chosen chaos and conflict over their responsibility to the American people. And it should have never even come to this – an elected body so bitterly divided that they removed a House Speaker for the first time in U.S. history. ”

“In the last several years, we have witnessed our elected leaders repeatedly put partisanship and division ahead of the well being of their constituents. Instead of learning from their mistakes and prioritizing collaboration, innovation, and real governance, members of Congress are doubling down on political gridlock to advance their own partisan agendas.”

“Something must change. We need a practical governing coalition that is willing to lead and finally put Americans first. Only through bipartisan cooperation can we find and implement common sense policy solutions that make government deliver for the American public.” 

To speak with Sam Oliker-Friedland, please contact ali@responsivegoverning.org.


The Institute for Responsive Government is a nonpartisan nonprofit dedicated to ensuring state and federal governments work effectively for the very people they serve. IRG provides data, research, and expertise to elected officials in order to find practical policy solutions that make government systems more efficient, accessible, and responsive.