House Dem leaders reveal they won't support a GOP removal effort against Speaker Johnson

 May 1, 2024

A handful of House Republicans have held Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) under threat for several months now of removal from his position via a motion to vacate the chair -- the same fate that befell his predecessor last year, former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

Yet, while House Democrats helped a small group of angry Republicans oust McCarthy last year, the Democratic leadership team just made it known that they won't assist their GOP colleagues again to remove Johnson from his speakership, the Associated Press reported.

Of course, the announcement from Democratic leaders that they will essentially save Johnson from removal will likely only further embolden the speaker's critics and even accelerate the effort to oust him, futile though it may now be.

Johnson under threat of removal from power

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) has been leading the charge against Speaker Johnson, and is now backed in her threat to remove him from power by Reps. Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Paul Gosar (R-AZ), in part over his repeated reliance on Democratic votes to pass controversial legislation, including government funding measures, the renewal of a dubious surveillance program, and most recently, financial aid for Ukraine, Israel, and other foreign nations.

Given the slim majority held by House Republicans, it would only take a few of them to successfully oust Johnson with a motion to vacate if their Democratic counterparts went along with the removal effort, as occurred with ex-Speaker McCarthy.

However, such cooperation won't occur a second time, according to House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), who was joined by House Democratic Whip Katherine Clark (D-MA) and House Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar (D-CA) in vowing as much.

House Democrats won't back another speaker removal effort

In a joint statement on Tuesday, the Democratic leaders said, "For months, House Republicans irresponsibly delayed critical security assistance to our democratic allies in Ukraine, Israel and the Indo-Pacific, while simultaneously blocking humanitarian assistance to civilians in harm’s way in places like Gaza, Haiti and the Sudan. Thanks to a bipartisan coalition of Democrats and Republicans, led by President Biden, we were finally able to meet the national security needs of the American people."

"From the very beginning of this Congress, House Democrats have put people over politics and found bipartisan common ground with traditional Republicans in order to deliver real results," they continued. "At the same time, House Democrats have aggressively pushed back against MAGA extremism. We will continue to do just that."

"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," the Democratic leaders added. "We will vote to table Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Motion to Vacate the Chair. If she invokes the motion, it will not succeed."

The AP pointed out that while this statement from the House Democratic leadership team would seem to guarantee Speaker Johnson's continued tenure, at least for the foreseeable future, it was noteworthy that the Democrats vowed only to vote to table Rep. Greene's motion and not vote affirmatively in favor of Johnson's speakership.

It was also noted that, rather predictably, Greene was furious at the development and immediately lashed out with an accusatory X post that shared the joint statement and disparaged Johnson for being aligned with Democrats while promising to move forward quickly with an effort to force a vote on her motion to vacate.

Greene responds to Democratic support for Johnson

"Mike Johnson is officially the Democrat Speaker of the House. Here is their official endorsement of his Speakership. What slimy back room deal did Johnson make for the Democrats’ support?" Rep. Greene wrote. "He should resign, switch parties, and continue voting for Biden’s open border invasion of America, endless wars, full term abortion on demand, trans agenda on children, warrantless spying on the American people, weaponizing government against President Trump and his supporters, and every other Democrat wishlist item he’s handed over."

"If the Democrats want to elect him Speaker (and some Republicans want to support the Democrats’ chosen Speaker), I’ll give them the chance to do it," the congresswoman added. "I’m a big believer in recorded votes because putting Congress on record allows every American to see the truth and provides transparency to our votes. Americans deserve to see the Uniparty on full display. I’m about to give them their coming out party!"

Greene followed that up with a post on Wednesday that declared, "Mike Johnson is the Uniparty’s Speaker. He has passed everything the Democrats’ wish list, and now has the endorsement of Hakeem Jeffries. Mike Johnson can no longer be Speaker. I will be calling for a vote to vacate the chair next week, so the American people can see who stands with the Uniparty and who stands with the people."

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