Bipartisan Backing: Moderate Democrats Pledge to Save Speaker Mike Johnson from Right-Wing Challenge

Johnson’s removal has been discussed by conservatives about a bipartisan budget agreement and aid to Ukraine. This same set of hardliners removed his predecessor, Kevin McCarthy.

WASHINGTON: A few centrist Democrats have stated that they would be prepared to defend Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson if extreme conservatives attempt to remove him from office, as they did with Kevin McCarthy.

After conferring with fellow members of his party, a senior moderate House Democrat declared, “Yes, we would back him.”

“I think I would [back Johnson].” Another three-week standstill is not possible. As it stands, the 118th Congress has accomplished nothing,” remarked a fellow moderate Democrat who would be up against fierce competition in November for reelection. “He’s not my best friend in the world, but this Congress is a horrible and difficult job,” I said.

If conservatives try to force a vote to remove Johnson as speaker, “I would be very surprised if there aren’t several Democrats who would support Johnson because I think we’re so tired of this,” the Democrat continued. “As a ‘frontline,’ I would rather not be accused of slowing things down by others.”

It’s the complete reverse of how Democrats handled the McCarthy case the previous autumn. Following a debate behind closed doors on October 3, all Democrats joined eight conservatives in a historic vote to remove California Republican Senator Mike McCarthy from the speakership. This marked the first time in House history that members had taken the action to remove a speaker midterm in a legislative session.

Bipartisan Backing Moderate Democrats Pledge to Save Speaker Mike Johnson from Right-Wing Challenge (1)

Johnson’s speakership is much more secure than previously thought thanks to the anonymous support of moderate Democrats, even in the face of new threats from far-right agitators enraged over the $1.59 trillion top-line spending agreement that the Louisiana Republican struck with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

Both chambers of Congress need to adopt something by the end of next week to avert a government shutdown that would begin on Jan. 19 for some federal operations and on Feb. 2 for the remainder.

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Some bomb-throwers in Johnson’s party have threatened to file a motion to vacate, which allows any one legislator to force a vote to remove a speaker, ever since the bipartisan spending agreement was unveiled last Saturday. Representative Chip Roy, R-Texas, a member of the fervently conservative House Freedom Caucus, stated on BlazeTV’s “The Steve Deace Show” on Tuesday that it is a possibility that is “on the table.”

The Republican representative from Georgia, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, has threatened to remove Johnson should he support a potential Senate border agreement that includes more military aid for Ukraine. Greene fiercely opposed McCarthy’s removal from office.

Greene declared, “No more funding for Ukraine.” And that’s where I vary greatly from the speaker and other attendees of my conference. He will be in serious difficulty if he wants to trade America’s border security for $60 billion in a deal with Democrats.

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