Mar 31, 2024 - Politics & Policy

House Republican says it's "possible" Mike Johnson is ousted

House Speaker Mike Johnson, wearing a dark blue suit, white shirt and red tie.

House Speaker Mike Johnson. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images.

Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) on Sunday said a vote to remove Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) is "very likely" — and a successful ouster "possible" — in retaliation for holding a vote on aid to Ukraine.

Why it matters: Such a vote would plunge House Republicans back into the chaos that saw Congress grind to a halt last fall as lawmakers struggled to find a new speaker.

What he's saying: "It's possible, I'm not going to deny it," Bacon said of Johnson being removed as speaker on NBC's "Meet the Press."

  • Bacon, a centrist leadership ally, chalked the possibility up to House Republicans having a narrow majority and "one or two people that are not team players [and would] rather enjoy the limelight, the social media."
  • "It is very likely that after this Ukraine bill, we may have a standoff with the speaker," Bacon added.

The backdrop: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) introduced a motion to vacate against Johnson earlier this month, telling reporters she will force a vote to remove Johnson if he attempts to pass Ukraine aid.

  • Democrats have said they would likely rescue Johnson from being removed — especially if he helps pass a Ukraine aid package.
  • "I do think there'll be Democrats who do not want to see this dysfunction, and I think they'll probably vote present or maybe not be there for a vote," Bacon said.

State of play: Johnson has been telling lawmakers in both parties to expect a vote on Ukraine aid, as well as aid to Israel and Taiwan, when the House returns from Easter recess next month.

  • "I believe there will be a vote when we get back from the Easter recess," Rep. Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.) said on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday.
  • Bacon said he has a "commitment" from Johnson and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Michael McCaul (R-Texas) that a Ukraine aid floor vote will happen.

Zoom in: Bacon and Lawler, another centrist leadership ally, blasted the threat to remove Johnson in their respective Sunday show appearances.

  • "It's idiotic. And it's not going to actually help advance the cause that she believes in," said Lawler, adding that it "undermines our House Republican majority."
  • "They want to bring the house down, and it makes us dysfunctional," Bacon said. "I hope the speaker prevails. He's doing the right thing."
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