HomePoliticsDemocrats can save Chairman Johnson, but Republicans say that will doom him

Democrats can save Chairman Johnson, but Republicans say that will doom him

Faced with the possibility of an uprising within his own party if he allows a vote on helping Ukraine fend off Russia’s brutal invasion, the Speaker of the House of Representatives has Mike Johnson (R-La.) may need help from Democrats to keep his job.

But there’s a problem with that: Many members of his party see any hint of help from the other side of the aisle as even more reason to oust him.

And that puts Democrats, who are in favor of aid to Ukraine, in a difficult position: how do you help if your help is unwanted?

“Our overall approach has been that [Make America Great Again] Republicans must solve the problems that MAGA Republicans are creating,” Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) told HuffPost on Tuesday. “We cannot cure the MAGA group of their intrinsic cannibalism.”

He continued: “That said, the real ethical imperative now is to get aid to the people of Ukraine. I will talk to everyone about what needs to be done to get help to the people.”

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) said Tuesday he supported Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (R-Ga) threat. to call a vote to oust Johnson from the speaker’s seat if he brings up aid to Ukraine. Johnson laid out a plan Monday night to do just that, along with aid to Israel, Taiwan and another measure with several Republican Party-oriented national security provisions.

With Republicans down to just two votes left in party-line votes, a margin that will shrink even further if Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) takes effect later in the week, the threat to Johnson’s grip on power is real.

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Johnson said he was not concerned but delayed announcing the details of his plan until Wednesday.

The resulting pile-up has created a tableau of incongruous and uncomfortable scenes on Capitol Hill and elsewhere. Tuesday morning saw Johnson at a news conference trying to shift the focus from the Republican Party in the House of Representatives to the effort to convict Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in his impeachment — which Greene is helping to manage.

And after appearing with Johnson at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida on Friday and saying Johnson was “doing a really good job,” former President Donald Trump said said Tuesday after a lawsuit in New York“We’ll see what happens with that,” when asked about the attempt to oust the speaker.

Massie also gave the bluntest assessment yet on Tuesday about why Johnson was still in office even as dissatisfaction among Republicans in the House of Representatives increased: They fear a repeat of October, when the House was paralyzed for three weeks was while the Republican party was meeting daily. hours to try to appoint a new speaker, only to see several candidacies publicly implode before Johnson’s.

“I think the concern about this happening again is literally the only reason he’s still speaker,” Massie told reporters.

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“I think he would say, ‘Well, he’s the only one who can get the votes, or do you really want to go through that again?'”

That’s also why Massie said he wants Johnson to announce a resignation date to ensure a more orderly transition.

Kevin McCarthy, the former California congressman who became the first speaker to be ousted from the House, partially blamed Democrats for his departure and said he was told they would not support such a move since eight Republicans who were with them all voted to ensure his defeat. .

Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), the Democratic leader of the House of Representatives, has tiptoed around the same question with Johnson, refusing to answer directly whether Democrats would help Johnson survive, especially if he passes aid to Ukraine the finish would help.

“I believe there are a fair number of Democrats who don’t want to see the speaker fall as a result of doing the right thing,” Jeffries said last week, though he added that was “an observation” and not an expression of support. .

But if Democrats were in favor of Johnson, many Republicans would be against him. Even for those who don’t support impeachment, the prospect of a speaker holding the gavel just because Democrats let him do so is simply not tenable.

“I don’t think this is a sustainable position for a Republican speaker. It may be very temporary, but I don’t think that’s a sustainable position,” said Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.), who dismissed the impeachment effort as a two-member effort. “I don’t think Speaker Johnson wants to be speaker with Democratic votes.”

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Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) said, “The good thing about Johnson is I don’t think he’ll make a deal. I don’t think he’ll give them anything to save his job. The only way they can save him is if they get something in return. That is how it works.”

Massie also said a Democratic-backed Johnson in the speaker role was untenable.

“That wouldn’t last, no. Because I think people at home would be angry, especially since every bill we put on the floor is exactly like that [Senate Majority Leader] Chuck Schumer would have it,” he said.

Rep. Troy Nehls (R-Texas) said he wasn’t concerned about the impeachment effort because he didn’t think anyone else in the House Republican conference would want the speaker’s job.

“Who wants the job? We were three weeks in, right? We were deep in the bank, right? We skipped all our leadership and stuff. So who wants the job then?” he asked.

The whole issue poses a dilemma for representatives like Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, who wants Ukraine to get help but remains wary of the potential consequences.”

“Despite our [political differences] It is not good for the country that this place is totally dysfunctional,” he said. “These people hate each other more than us.”


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