Passions flare as Mike Johnson agrees to spending deal

 January 10, 2024

After agreeing to a spending deal with Democrats, Speaker Mike Johnson (La.) is facing the same kind of outrage that led to the sacking of his predecessor, Kevin McCarthy.

With a government shutdown looming at the end of this month, Johnson agreed to a $1.59 trillion deal. The topline figure is the same one negotiated by McCarthy last year, but an additional "side deal" brings the real number to $1.65 trillion.

Johnson in the barrel...

Chip Roy (R-Tx.), a member of the House Freedom Caucus, said removing Johnson is not off the table.

“I’m leaving it on the table,” he told the Steve Deace Show. “I’m not gonna say I’m gonna go file it tomorrow night. I’m not saying I’m not gonna file it tomorrow. I think the speaker needs to know that we’re angry about it.”

Kevin McCarthy went through a similar back-and-forth with his Republican detractors during his short-lived Speakership, which ended in humiliation after Matt Gaetz (R-Fl.) made a historic "motion to vacate."

Johnson was elected Speaker after several weeks of political drama, which saw Republicans struggle to unite behind a new leader.

The new Speaker began his tenure in October with bold promises to change how things are done in Washington, but it's safe to say the honeymoon phase has passed.

Honeymoon phase over...

Johnson began to face backlash after agreeing to a stopgap bill in November, which created two separate deadlines, January 19 and February 2, to avoid a government shutdown.

Congress now has less than a month to pass 12 individual spending bills. With time running out, it's likely that Johnson will be pressured to pass another stopgap in the coming days.

Johnson defended his spending agreement Tuesday, saying it was the best the GOP could do with marginal control of one chamber of Congress.

"This is not what we all want, it’s not the best deal that we could get if we were in charge of both chambers and the White House. But it’s the best deal that we could broker under the circumstances,” Johnson said.

Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), a fiscal hawk, said removing McCarthy was a "mistake" in a Twitter post Wednesday.

Gaetz, who championed Johnson as a "MAGA" champion and a vast improvement over McCarthy, has been quiet as criticism of Johnson mounts.

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