Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) delivered a fiery nominating speech for House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) to be Speaker on Wednesday, attacking the GOP nominee, Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio), for his “extreme” policy agenda and lack of legislative experience.
“I noted yesterday the legislative acumen of the gentleman from Ohio. Would it surprise anyone that in addition to not passing a single piece of legislation, he’s never put [out] a piece of legislation that has made it to a committee?”
“The Speaker of the House must be a legislator,” Aguilar added. “And the gentleman from Ohio falls short in that regard.”
Jordan fell short in the second Speaker vote of the week Wednesday, failing to secure a majority of the chamber. Twenty-two Republicans withheld their support from him, while Democrats remained united behind Jeffries.
Aguilar attacked Jordan for his history of embracing hard-right positions, saying the Judiciary Committee chairman “supports an extreme agenda and is hellbent on banning abortion nationwide, gutting Medicare, gutting Social Security and giving cover to Jan. 6 attackers,” adding, “those aren’t the values that we share.”
Aguilar spent most of the nominating speech Wednesday touting Jeffries’s commitment to legislating on a bipartisan basis, seeking to draw a contrast to Jordan and to the “chaos” under Republican governance.
“If we don’t see a Speaker elected in this round, there’s going to be another candidate and another internal Republican conference vote and a secret ballot, and the country can’t afford more delays and more chaos,” Aguilar said. “Fifteen days should be enough.”
Aguilar blasted Jordan for “making late-night backroom deals to secure the gavel,” while, he said, “Leader Jeffries has once again extended the hand of bipartisanship for a path forward.”
“Hakeem Jeffries has done what we haven’t seen from the other side of the aisle and that is to keep a caucus united. When extreme MAGA Republicans vowed to send our country into a devastating default, it was Leader Jeffries who led House Democrats to reject the extremism and keep the government open.”
“It has been Leader Jeffries and House Democrats who have shown a willingness and a conviction to keep our promise to deliver for American families. And it will be Hakeem Jeffries who will move our body and our country forward on a bipartisan path,” he added.
Aguilar, in making his case, also pointed to the minority leader’s performance in the first round of voting Tuesday — when Jeffries received 212 votes and Jordan 200.
“One thing was very clear yesterday: the vote total. 212 to 200,” Aguilar said. “The people’s House has spoken, and Leader Jeffries has the support to be Speaker that this country needs.”
“No amount of ‘election-denying’ is going to take away from those vote totals,” he added.