WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — As Republicans struggle to select a speaker of the House, Democrats are pushing the idea of picking a bipartisan leader.
It’s been nearly two weeks without an official House speaker. With war in Israel and a looming government funding deadline, there’s pressure to choose one soon.
House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries told NBC he’s open to making a deal with Republicans.
“We are ready, willing and able to enter into a bipartisan governing coalition,” Jeffries said.
In order for that to happen, he says they’d need to find a leader that would allow votes on bills that both parties support.
“We can change the rules to facilitate bipartisanship, and that should be the starting point of our conversation,” Jeffries added.
Many Republicans seem reluctant to give House Democrats any power. Congressman Mike Turner said on CBS he’s not a fan of the idea of choosing a speaker together.
“At this point, I would prefer there to be a Republican solution,” Turner said.
Michael Thorning with the Bipartisan Policy Center says as this contest drags on, the idea of picking a unity candidate gains some traction.
“The possibility of this happening definitely grows the longer we go without a permanent speaker in place,” Thorning said.
But he argues that right now it’s a longshot. He says in such a polarized environment it would be risky for Republicans to vote with Democrats to elect a bipartisan speaker.
“Breaking from the party can be seen as a betrayal. So it becomes sort of a litmus test to say are you with us or are you with the other side?” Thorning said.
Still, no matter who becomes speaker, they’ll have to work with the Democrat majority Senate to get any legislation passed. So even without a unity leader, Thorning believes there will still be bipartisanship.
“Bipartisanship is still possible in Congress. It happens all the time,” Thorning said.