Analysis by Energy Workforce President Tim Tarpley
We began the week heading into the third week of disarray in the House of Representatives, triggered by a group of eight members who supported a resolution to remove the former Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-20), from his position. Since that vote, there have been failed attempts by both Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA-1) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH-4) to wrangle the 217 votes needed to assume the role of Speaker. Both of these members were successful in getting the majority of the House Republican caucus to support their attempt but were unable to garner enough votes to reach a majority on the floor.
The recent attempt by Jordan was seen by many analysts as the best shot at bringing a fractured caucus together, but that ultimately did not occur. Jordan, one of the original founders of the Freedom Caucus, had spent recent years trying to gain support from the more mainstream members of the Republican caucus. These efforts had been seen by many as somewhat successful, as Jordan had ascended to become Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, gained the endorsement of former Speaker McCarthy and most of the rest of leadership, along with the endorsement of former President Trump, who holds sway over much of the caucus. Ultimately this balancing act was too much, and Jordan came up significantly short of the needed support on the floor. While non-supporting members had a variety of reasons to withhold their votes, many simply saw Jordan as too closely tied with his Freedom Caucus roots despite attempts to move closer to the rest of the caucus.
What happened next? Nine candidates emerged, working through multiple ballots within the internal Republican caucus until a winner emerged. Current Majority Whip Todd Emmer (R-MN-6) failed to obtain the 217 votes needed on Tuesday. Ultimately, Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) secured the gavel, becoming the 56th Speaker of the House and ending three weeks of chaos in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The good news is that this means the House can return to normal business. With significant regulatory rules coming down the pike from the Biden Administration, it is critical for the House to turn back on.
As an industry, we can let out a sigh of relief, as the alternative to a clean vote for a Speaker could have led to a deal cut with Democrats, making it increasingly likely that oversight and/or other options to push back on the Administration would have been limited. Such an instance could have had significant limitations on our ability to push back on the potentially upcoming SEC climate-disclosure rule and the Administration’s five-year offshore leasing rule.
From our perspective, Speaker Johnson has been an ally to the oil and gas industry, and could play a major role in changing the narrative surrounding the vilification of the industry. He has staunchly opposed the Green New Deal and opposed policies that would lead to higher energy costs.
Tim Tarpley, Energy Workforce President, analyzes federal policy for the Energy Workforce & Technology Council. Click here to subscribe to the Energy Workforce newsletter, which highlights sector-specific issues, best practices, activities and more.