Apr 16, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Civil war hits House GOP over foreign aid

This is Mike Johnson and Marjorie Taylor Greene

Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

House Speaker Mike Johnson suddenly faces the most dangerous threat to his job of his six-month tenure.

Why it matters: Johnson risks a weakened speakership if he needs Democrats to save his job.

  • Johnson took the extraordinary step today of saying he wouldn't resign, as pressure builds on his right flank to force him out.
  • "[I]t is, in my view, an absurd notion that someone would bring a vacate motion when we are simply here trying to do our jobs," Johnson said.

The big picture: Rep. Thomas Massie's (R-Ky.) vow to join the push by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) to oust Johnson is a significant escalation within the GOP conference, Axios' Juliegrace Brufke tells me.

  • Massie stood up at an internal GOP meeting this morning and demanded Johnson resign so that Republicans can have an easier time picking a new speaker.
  • Greene had previously threatened an ouster attempt if Johnson put a Ukraine aid bill on the floor, which he's planning to do imminently.

Reality check: Finding a new Republican speaker would be even more excruciating than the three weeks of turmoil after Kevin McCarthy got the boot.

  • House Republicans don't think anyone in their conference could lock down the gavel, based on our extensive conversations behind the scenes.

Between the lines: The timing could get messy for Johnson, especially if he needs Democrats to defeat an ouster attempt before voting on the foreign aid bills at the crux of the current dispute.

  • Greene told several House Republicans that she could start the clock on a motion to vacate within 24 to 48 hours, potentially forcing a vote ahead of the aid bills for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan hitting the House floor.
  • GOP leadership is looking to release the bill text today on the foreign aid legislation, but progress is slower than expected.
  • "If you want to mention the word Ukraine, you got to deal with the border," Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) told Axios after a group of conservatives met with the speaker.

The bottom line: Johnson can likely count on Democrats to save his speakership, especially if he keeps moving forward on the foreign aid bills, Axios' Andrew Solender reports.

  • Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-Fla.) said his opposition to Johnson's ouster "has not changed."
  • Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.) said he would also vote against a motion to vacate: "Yeah. ... I wrote an op-ed piece about that."

Go deeper: Live updates on the Johnson speakership fight

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