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Speaker Johnson Faces Ouster Vote This Week

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) will face a vote to strip him of the gavel in the coming days. While he’s expected to survive the ouster bid, the move presents another test for the Republican leader as he presides over a razor-thin majority in the lower chamber.

House Democrat leaders said they would vote to shelve a motion to vacate advanced by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), effectively ensuring its defeat on the House floor.

While Mr. Johnson could claim a victory from this scenario, he may also face further scrutiny from the right flank for having to rely on Democrats to save his speakership.

Ms. Greene, who is publicly supported by two Republicans, Reps. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), first offered the motion to vacate in March to serve as a “warning” after the speaker advanced a $1.2 trillion government funding bill with broad Democrat support.

Since then, Mr. Johnson’s vote against adding a warrant requirement to a bill reauthorizing controversial surveillance powers and his take up of a $95 billion foreign aid bill funding Ukraine, Israel, and the Indo-Pacific that didn’t include border security measures stirred outrage among some conservatives, including Ms. Greene.

Mr. Massie, who joined Ms. Greene at a May 1 press conference when she announced she’ll activate the motion to vacate in the week of May 5, defended the Georgia Republican.

“I think she’s gone about this in a very reasonable way. She’s given the speaker multiple chances to resign, to leave. And instead, he’s clinging to power by clinging to Democrats,” he said.

Undaunted that Democrats are poised to protect Mr. Johnson by voting to table her motion, Ms. Greene said, “I believe in recorded votes. That is our job—our job is to vote.”

“If this vote fails,” she said, “that’s a list of names—and the voters and the American people … they deserve that list.”

Mr. Johnson responded to Ms. Greene’s announcement, calling it a “dangerous gambit” that would throw Congress into dysfunction.
“This motion is wrong for the Republican conference, wrong for the institution, and wrong for the country,” the speaker said in a statement on May 1.

Many Republicans have echoed this sentiment, apparently not eager for a repeat of last October when eight Republicans voted with all Democrats to oust Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), throwing the House into weeks of paralysis before Mr. Johnson was elected.

Rep. Dan Meuser (R-Pa.) said he thought the procedure was being used improperly. “I don’t think you enact a motion to vacate in the manner that it’s [being] done; it’s as serious as impeachment. There should be at least some standards, moral standards, such as if someone were to engage in an unethical action, or crime,” he said.

“I don’t believe that’s what the country wants,” Rep. Monica De La Cruz (R-Texas) said. The Texas lawmaker also said she thought Mr. Johnson deserved the support of the Republican Party.

Democrats

When House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) and other Democrat leaders announced they would shield Mr. Johnson from Ms. Greene’s effort to oust him, they cited the speaker’s help in passing the $95 billion foreign aid package.

“At this moment, upon completion of our national security work, the time has come to turn the page on this chapter of Pro-Putin Republican obstruction,” they said in an April 30 statement.

House Democrats were told to vote their conscience on the issue. Many were on board with the plan to protect the Republican speaker.

“I’m definitely open towards making sure that speaker Johnson continues,” Rep. Don Davis (D-N.C.) said.

Rep. Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.) went a bit further. “I think there will be Democrats who would rather reward a speaker for doing the right thing than reward Marjorie Taylor Greene, and her effort to overtake the House,” he said.

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) expressed reservations about killing the motion to vacate: “Now is certainly not the time to vacate the speaker’s chair,” he said. The Georgia representative said he was troubled by some of Mr. Johnson’s viewpoints, saying they were almost enough to disqualify him as Speaker of the House.

“But he is our speaker,” he said, “And he has acted responsibly by bringing the supplemental appropriations bill to the floor of the House at personal peril.”

Rep. Annie Kuster (D-Pa.), in voicing her support for tabling the motion to vacate, criticized Ms. Greene, who is known for unapologetically speaking her mind. “She’s been a thorn in our side for a long time; now she’s a thorn in [the GOP’s] side,” Ms. Kuster said. “So, I’m thrilled to take the position that she is a paper tiger, she doesn’t speak for anyone, she can’t count, and she doesn’t have the votes.”

But other Democrats were wary of bailing out Mr. Johnson.

“If you’re asking me, ‘Do I believe Democrats should help Mike Johnson?’ I do not … he is very right-wing. I don’t know why I’d support that,” said Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-Va.)

“Frankly, if he stays in office at the sufferance of Democrats, he’s a marked man in his own party,” he added.

Rep. Delia Ramirez (D-Ill.) spoke even more firmly: “Mike Johnson is absolutely against everything that I believe in,” she said. “There is no way I would vote for someone like him to be able to stay in his seat. Let the Republicans, and maybe others do that, but that won’t be me.”

When Ms. Greene brings the motion to the floor, leadership will be required to hold a vote on it within a few days. Normally, a motion to vacate requires a simple majority to pass, but in this case, a member is expected to bring up a motion to table the measure. This is likely to succeed, which would put off a formal vote on the issue altogether.

READ 21 COMMENTS
  • Susan says:

    Unfortunately, this scumbag who calls himself a Christian and a Republican is neither and there is no way he can be voted out. It disgusts me how rogue our government is and acts like an enemy to the people.

  • Dorothy says:

    This man has turned out to be a Democrat supporter. He went ahead and passed that bill without thinking of the American Citizens who are being targeted by this Nazi Regime. I would not support him. He is a weak man.

  • Sick of Politics says:

    Here we go. Checks and balances is being destroyed by the children in Congress. At one time, Congress was respected. Since Nancy was Speaker, the House has been made a mockery. Now the Republicans will not unite to save America. Do they not know how idiotic they appear? Green needs to turn her efforts to uniting the House instead of looking like a moron.

  • James Thomas Doyle says:

    about time …traitor to GOP a true RINO. Sad political jockeying .. example of a corrupt unfunctional government

  • terry haddad says:

    Yes he should go some other Republicans should go too!
    Where are the Republicans all this time when Mr Trump is going through right now,no body is coming to his side saying something in defending Mr Trump in any which way so half the Republicans are as bad as Democrats my opinion.

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