FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Republican third district Congressman Jim Banks sees Ohio’s Jim Jordan as the “obvious choice” for the next Speaker of the House.
Republicans are expected to meet next week to debate and try to settle on a speaker, then confirm that choice with a vote on the House floor.
Banks spoke with WANE 15 Wednesday afternoon, about 24 hours after the House vacated Kevin McCarthy from the speaker’s position.
It seems to be a historic time to be in Congress.
I’ve experienced a lot of history since I’ve been in Washington over the past seven years, but yesterday was certainly a historic day, a bizarre one at that. Not necessarily good history for the Republican Party or the Congress. But we have a tough road ahead of us as we pick up the pieces and elect a new Speaker of the House. I hope that next speaker is Jim Jordan from our neighboring state of Ohio, a proven conservative fighter, pro life, always the one who’s in the middle of every important fight or leading the fight for conservative principles. He seems like the obvious choice to me to put in the Speaker’s chair to unify the Republican Party and move us forward.
How sympathetic are you with the eight Republicans who voted with the Democrats to vacate Speaker McCarthy?
Well, I voted against the spending bill last Saturday, which [passed and] was the trigger point for Matt Gaetz calling the motion that he did. I’m frustrated, too, that with the Republican majority, we’re not doing enough to rein in wasteful spending, secure the border and focus on the big issues of the day, but I’m also realistic about it. We have a five seat Republican majority; the Democrats have the Senate and the White House. We have to recognize that we have a very slim majority. There’s only so much that we can do, but the voters gave us the majority to be a check on the Biden administration and on the Democrat agenda. So I’m frustrated, but I’m realistic. And at this point, I just recognize that we need a new Speaker, a new leader who can unify the party, who’s a good communicator, and will be a tough negotiator. The Speaker of the House is the one who’s in the room with the President and the leader of the Senate negotiating these big spending bills. And I want the toughest, most conservative negotiator that we can find. To me, that’s obviously Jim Jordan.
Will this be done by Wednesday? A lot of people think there’s a lot of chaos right now.
I don’t know about chaos, but a lot of uncertainty. I don’t know if it’ll be finished or if we will elect the speaker on Wednesday or not. If you recall, back in January, it took 15 votes and nearly a week to get it done. I really have no idea. No speaker in American history has been ousted before and that leaves a lot of questions. We have an acting Speaker of the House, Patrick McHenry from North Carolina, and he, too, is figuring out what specific role and power does an acting Speaker of the House have. The floor of the House is shut down so nothing can move through the Congress without a Speaker of the House. So I hope we can unify on Tuesday and elect the new speaker on Wednesday, and then move forward.
Do you think most voters are paying attention or is this kind of “inside baseball?”
I’m hearing a lot of feedback from Hoosiers and from my constituents in northeast Indiana who are definitely paying attention. They understand what the stakes are – that what’s going on in Congress right now affects America, affects our economy, affects the American dream and saving this great country. So I find that most people do care and they should care. These leadership races really matter, especially for the Speaker of the House, one of the most powerful people in our country. And I hope we get it right. We have a chance next week to get it right, elect a new speaker and move forward.
Why wouldn’t a voter think Republicans don’t govern as well as Democrats? Not policy issues, but the actual day to day of getting things passed and done? Do you think there’s a difference?
Of course, there’s a big difference between the Democrat agenda and the Republican agenda and that’s one of the concerns that I have about what can happen from here. I mean, if the Democrats can partner with eight Republicans to oust the Republican Speaker of the House, then those same Democrats could partner with maybe a different seven or eight Republicans to choose the next Speaker of the House and then essentially you have a Democratic speaker instead of a Republican Speaker. The voters gave the Republicans the majority to lead. And I fully believe that they gave us the majority to be a check on the Biden administration. And that’s why it’s important that we preserve the will of the voters with a Republican speaker to be that check, to be the tough negotiator in the room and fight for less spending. Electing a speaker really matters and I take it very seriously.
GOP Majority Leader Steve Scalise has come to the district to campaign for you in the past. Why do you prefer Jordan over Scalise?
I just think right now we need to do something different. We need to have a fighter in the Speaker’s role, a proven conservative. I really liked Steve Scalise. Jim Jordan has been to northeast Indiana and campaigned for me, too. This isn’t personal. This is about the country. And Jim Jordan is the right man at this time to lead us forward to fight for our conservative principles. I’m just fully convinced of that. So that’s why I support him. This is going to be a really important decision for a lot of my colleagues, as we make this decision next week and as a conservative leader in the House of Representatives today, I’m going to do everything that I can to elect a conservative Speaker and it’s obvious to me that that person is Jim Jordan.