Apr 17, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Mike Johnson strikes first in foreign aid fight that threatens his job

This is Mike Johnson

Photo: Graeme Sloan/Bloomberg via Getty Images

After 36 hours of agonizing inaction, House Speaker Mike Johnson has given Democrats a reason, and a timeline, to bail him out.

Why it matters: A GOP-led Johnson ouster attempt is more of a when instead of an if, but he's got a shot to get foreign aid bills passed before a vote on his job.

  • Coming into the morning, there were deep worries among Republicans on Capitol Hill that the House GOP was prepared to act by not acting — effectively surrendering the agenda to Democrats.
  • But if Johnson can land the plane on time — with the Ukraine, Israel and Indo-Pacific bills out today and final votes by Saturday night — he'll be able to claim House Republicans put their own stamp on the process.
  • Ukraine aid is on track to pass in short order, whether it's a GOP-preferred version or by some House Republicans signing on to help Democrats force a vote on the Senate-passed version.

Between the lines: The Israel bill includes the billions in humanitarian aid for Gaza that Democrats said was a must-have for their votes.

Zoom in: GOP skeptics see Johnson's offer to move a separate border bill as a slap in the face.

  • Conservatives know they don't gain any leverage from it because it's not attached to the rest of the bills.
  • "You are seriously out of step with Republicans by continuing to pass bills dependent on Democrats," Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) said after Johnson shared his plans.
  • "[W]hether it happens two weeks from now, two months from now, or in the next majority, he will not be speaker," Greene told Breitbart News yesterday.

The bottom line: Johnson is poised get some help for his razor-thin margin from Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), whose resignation from Congress was set to take effect on Friday.

  • "The congressman has the flexibility to stay and support the aid package on Saturday," Gallagher's office said.

Go deeper: Axios live updates on the Johnson saga

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