Updated Apr 17, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Live updates: Mike Johnson bites the bullet as ouster threat grows

Mike Johnson

Photo: Anna Rose Layden/Getty Images

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) plans to unveil GOP leadership's highly anticipated foreign aid bills on Wednesday, doubling down even after a second House Republican declared they would support his removal.

Why it matters: House Republicans' civil war has reached a new boiling point, six months after former Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) became the first House speaker in U.S. history to be ousted from his post.

The latest

Johnson categorically refused to resign Tuesday after Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), a conservative on the powerful Rules Committee, said he would co-sponsor Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene's (R-Ga.) "motion to vacate" over Johnson's plans to hold votes on foreign aid.

  • Johnson's plans will likely set up a weekend vote on approving funding to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, infuriating hardline Republicans who say the House should not take up foreign aid without addressing border security."
  • Some Democrats say they would save Johnson if he faces a motion to vacate, fearing that it would throw the House into chaos at a moment of multiple global crises.
  • In the meantime, Democrats are redoubling their pressure on Republicans to sign a discharge petition that would force the House to vote on the Senate's $95 billion foreign package, bypassing Johnson's more complex plan.

Context

Johnson has been in the job for just under six months, having been elected after a weeks-long speaker's battle that left the GOP conference bitterly divided.

  • A conservative Trump ally, Johnson has refused to bring Ukraine aid to the House floor until now out of fear of a right-wing GOP rebellion that could cost him his job.
  • Several Republicans have resigned from the House during Johnson's tenure, shrinking his razor-thin majority and leaving him virtually powerless to govern the chamber without Democratic support.
  • Former President Trump said last week that he stands with Johnson, but that has not stopped Greene, a MAGA firebrand, from ratcheting up her threats to remove him.
  • Trump was notably more circumspect on Tuesday, telling a reporter who asked about the growing threat to oust Johnson: "Well, we'll see what happens with that."

Go deeper: What to know about Speaker Mike Johnson

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