A key moderate Republican leader is looking to introduce a resolution on Wednesday temporarily expanding the powers of interim House Speaker Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., after two weeks of gridlock without a leader.
McHenry was chosen by ex-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., to serve as speaker pro tempore if he were ever ousted, which he was earlier this month in a House majority vote by eight Republicans and all Democrats.
Now, Rep. Dave Joyce, R-Pa., chairman of the Republican Governance Group, is calling to flesh out McHenry’s role in leadership, particularly in light of the urgency for Congress to approve aid for Israel as it fights a bloody war with terror group Hamas.
A source familiar with the matter told Fox News Digital that Joyce hopes to introduce a resolution to do so Wednesday.
It comes after Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, fell 17 votes short of the 217 he needed to win the speaker’s gavel on Tuesday. Twenty Republicans voted for someone other than Jordan, a tally that caught allies who expected a closer finish by surprise.
Before that, Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., had clinched the GOP nomination for speaker before stepping back from the race the next day over mounting public opposition.
Joyce had been one of the 200 Republicans who cast his vote for Jordan on Tuesday.
He told Fox News Digital on Wednesday morning, “After two weeks without a Speaker of the House and no clear candidate with 217 votes in the Republican conference, it is time to look at other viable options. By empowering Patrick McHenry as Speaker Pro Tempore we can take care of our ally Israel until a new Speaker is elected.”
The House of Representatives is very much charting uncertain territory now — McCarthy’s removal was the first in the chamber’s history — and it’s not clear that McHenry’s current powers extend beyond just overseeing the election of the next speaker.
While McHenry has maintained that he has no interest in the role, he is rapidly emerging as a likely consensus candidate that at least some Democrats could agree to.
Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., said McHenry was “respected on our side of the aisle” when asked on Tuesday evening if he could be a viable candidate. Jeffries also said there were “informal conversations” about making a deal on a GOP speaker that he hoped would “accelerate” after Jordan’s rocky performance.
And on Tuesday night, former Republican speakers Newt Gingrich and John Boehner both endorsed the idea of empowering McHenry.
It’s not immediately clear how long the resolution would last before a new speaker election is needed, or if Joyce specifically has been part of the “informal” talks. His office did not immediately answer those questions when reached for comment on Wednesday morning.
Punchbowl News, which broke the resolution first, reported that Joyce hoped to introduce it after the 11 a.m. vote for speaker.
If it’s introduced as a privileged resolution — one of the only viable courses for action with the House paralyzed — lawmakers would have to vote on it or vote to kill its momentum somehow within two legislative days.
Fox News Digital has reached out to McHenry’s office for comment.