Ukraine Aid Nears Passage in the House While Another Republican Signs on to Oust Speaker Johnson

“You can please some of the people some of the time, all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, but you can never please all of the people all of the time,” Abraham Lincoln supposedly said. House Speaker Mike Johnson is the living embodiment of that adage. 

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Johnson is caught between doing what he thinks is right — funding Ukraine’s fight for survival against Russia — and doing what’s politically expedient — bowing to the pressure campaign by about a third of the Republican caucus and killing the Ukraine funding bill.

On Friday, he took one step into his grave by allowing the Ukraine funding bill to go forward. He did it with a lot of help from the opposition party — a gambit that will eventually lead to him losing his gavel.

The motion to vacate the speaker’s chair introduced by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene got another boost when Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz) signed on as a co-sponsor. This means that along with the other co-sponsor, Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie, there are now enough votes to kick Johnson to the curb.

Johnson could appeal to Democrats to save him. But at what cost? And there’s no guarantee there wouldn’t be wholesale GOP defections if he made such an appeal. 

So Johnson is a gone goose if Marjorie Taylor Greene pulls the plug and introduces her resolution.

The Hill:

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) has filed a resolution to oust the Speaker, but she has not said when she plans to trigger a vote on it. And Thursday, even as she railed against Johnson’s handling of the Ukraine debate, she said she’s not ready to force her vacate resolution to the floor.

“I’m not acting out of emotions or rash feelings or anger,” Greene said. “I’m doing this the right way, and I’m allowing my conference to see exactly what I saw months ago.” 

Lending Johnson a huge boost — and perhaps a job-security lifeline — former President Trump threw his support behind the Speaker during a joint appearance at Mar-a-Lago last week, a vote of confidence that has muddied Greene’s path forward in her ouster effort.

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Trump may have given his blessing to Johnson but may still cut him loose if he does something stupid like promise the Democrats something objectionable for their support. 

The main point of contention cited by Gosar and Massie is Johnson’s refusal to bring legislation to the House floor to secure the southern border. The House already passed a very strong border security bill in March, but the Senate won’t bring it up for a vote. It would lose anyway as even some Senate Republicans wouldn’t vote for it. 

Never mind reality. Let’s send another “message.”

“Our border cannot be an afterthought. We need a Speaker who puts America first rather than bending to the reckless demands of the warmongers, neocons and the military-industrial complex making billions from a costly and endless war half a world away,” Gosar said in signing on to Taylor Greene’s motion to vacate.

Even if she does force a vote to remove Johnson, Democrats are likely to step in and save him. A number of Democrats in recent months have said that if the Speaker moves aid for Ukraine, they will protect him from a conservative coup. Some have predicted there are dozens of Democrats in that camp.

On Friday’s rule vote, the eleventh-hour help from Democrats did not come as a surprise: President Biden endorsed the foreign aid package earlier this week, and the four Democrats on the Rules Committee voted late Thursday night to advance the package through the panel over the opposition of three committee conservatives.

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Joe Biden and the Democrats want the Ukraine aid bill passed. To get that done, they appear willing to save Mike Johnson’s gavel by taking the unprecedented action of voting against a motion to vacate the chair held by a Republican speaker. But if the Democrats vote against the motion to vacate and save Johnson’s job, they will neuter the speaker for the rest of the year. 

Johnson may as well switch parties if he accepts Democratic support to keep his job. 

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