Updated Apr 30, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Hakeem Jeffries vows to save Mike Johnson from MTG's motion to vacate

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Speaker Mike Johnson, walking through the Capitol rotunda.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Speaker Mike Johnson. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

House Democratic leadership on Tuesday confirmed what has long been rumored: If Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) introduces a motion to oust Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), they will help kill it.

Why it matters: It could be the nail in the coffin for Greene's motion to vacate, which has already struggled due to a lack of Republican support.

What they're saying: "We will vote to table Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene's Motion to Vacate the Chair," Jeffries and his deputies, Reps. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) and Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.), said in a statement.

  • "If she invokes the motion, it will not succeed," they said.
  • The Democratic leaders pointed to the foreign aid bill passing earlier this month: "Upon completion of our national security work, the time has come to turn the page on this chapter of Pro-Putin Republican obstruction."

By the numbers: Just two right-wing House Republicans have signed onto Greene's motion to vacate, enough to remove Johnson only if virtually every Democrat voted with them.

  • But Democrats have long said they would rescue Johnson if he passed a Ukraine aid bill – which is exactly what happened 10 days ago.

Between the lines: There's also significant discomfort among Democrats with the idea of again joining the GOP's right flank to topple a speaker.

  • Democrats did it with Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), but say the former House speaker was uniquely untrustworthy in a way that Johnson isn't.
  • Democrats also don't want to see a repeat of the chaos of last fall's speaker vacancy.

The bottom line: "From the very beginning of this Congress, House Democrats have put people over politics and found bipartisan common ground with traditional Republicans in order to deliver real results," the Democratic leaders said.

  • "At the same time, House Democrats have aggressively pushed back against MAGA extremism. We will continue to do just that."

Go deeper: Democrats throw Johnson a lifeline on motion to vacate

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional context and comment from House Democratic leadership.

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