House votes to defeat revised border bill in latest test for Mike Johnson

 April 21, 2024

The position in which the current speaker of the House finds himself grew a little more precarious in the eyes of some this weekend, as another of his legislative offerings went down to defeat.

As the Washington Examiner reports, the House of Representatives voted against an adjusted version of a prior border bill presented by Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), which was designed to afford border authorities more resources to stem the tide of illegal migration.

Border bill defeated

The measure at issue was defeated by a vote of 215 to 199, failing to meet the two-thirds majority necessary for its passage under suspension of House rules.

Notably, just five Democrats crossed the aisle to join all of the chamber's Republican members in support of the bill.

As the Examiner notes, Johnson brought the bill to a vote in response to growing concerns among Republican ranks that the massive foreign aid package approved on Saturday did not encompass additional border security measures but did provide substantial new support for Ukraine.

Hardline members of the GOP have long endeavored to link any additional funding for Ukraine to enhanced border security provisions, but their demands were not met.

Slimmed-down provision fails

The so-called End the Border Catastrophe Act was modeled in large part after H.R. 2, which received House approval last year.

Included in the legislation were measures designed to cap the volume of asylum seekers permitted into the country as well as to reinstate certain Trump-era policies that were undone almost as soon as President Joe Biden took office.

Notably, however, the most recent iteration of the bill was less robust than the original, sparking intense criticism of Johnson from some corners of his party.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), a particularly vocal critic of the speaker, skeptically declared, “It's a theatrics, shiny object. It's the shiny object for Republicans that are saying we got to do something for the border.”

Gavel in peril

All of Saturday's drama unfolded in the broader context of Johnson's battle to remain in the speaker's chair, something that is at risk due to Greene's recent filing of a motion to vacate, the first step in a possible ouster of the Republican leader.

As Fox News notes, Greene is not the only one who wants Johnson gone, as she has been joined by Reps. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and Thomas Massie (R-KY) in her mission to seize the speaker's gavel from the Louisiana lawmaker.

Explaining his position, Gosar said, “I have added my name in support of the motion to vacate the Speaker. Our border cannot be an afterthought. We need a Speaker who puts America first rather than bending to the reckless demands of the warmonger, neo-cons and the military industrial complex making billions from a costly and endless war half a world away.”

Johnson, at least for now, is downplaying the danger of removal, saying, “Listen, my philosophy is you do the right thing, and you let the chips fall where they may. If I operated out of fear over a motion to vacate, I would never be able to do my job. I do not spend my time walking around thinking about the motion.”

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