RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – On Wednesday afternoon, Representative Patrick McHenry presided from the dais of the U.S. House as fellow North Carolina congressman Richard Hudson sat two seats down from Jim Jordan.
Both men voted for Rep. Jordan as Speaker of the House. But after that effort failed, some Republican members wanted to give McHenry expanded powers as speaker pro tempore.
In his tenth term, McHenry has managed to gain respect from both Republicans and Democrats after starting off as a firebrand during the Bush years.
“But has really matured into to someone who’s focused on leading his committee of financial services, kind of working through the regular process and developing camaraderie with members along the way, instead of just throwing bombs across the air,” said Asher Hildebrand, Assistant Director of Graduate Studies in the Duke Sanford School of Public Policy.
Any attempt by Republicans to expand McHenry’s powers while they work out the speakership would likely need at least some support from across the aisle. After Jim Jordan’s second failed attempt, Democratic North Carolina congressman Wiley Nickel said he would support expanding McHenry’s power.
“To that end, we need to get temporary acting speaker, Patrick McHenry power, so he can start moving bills, so the US Congress can stand with Ukraine, so we can stand with Israel and we can keep the lights on for the federal government within just 30 days,” said Rep. Nickel.
McHenry has not thrown his hat in the ring in the race for speaker. It’s something that doesn’t surprise Hildebrand. “If you look at John Boehner, then Paul Ryan, then Kevin McCarthy, the last three Republican speakers have all either resigned or been deposed by these same dynamics within the conference. Those dynamics haven’t changed, right? And so he’s got every right to be skeptical,” said Hildebrand.
But it’s still a possibility.
“McHenry, though, indicated that if he’s pressed into service, he’s willing to serve, I think he’s someone who does, you know, see himself as a unifier among Republicans and has a degree of institutionalism when it comes to the House functioning as it’s meant to be,” said Hildebrand.