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Democratic leaders to back Johnson in potential motion to vacate

Top Democrats' move likely ensures that GOP speaker will keep his gavel, at least for now

Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., right, and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., attend a ceremony in the Capitol rotunda on Monday.
Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., right, and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., attend a ceremony in the Capitol rotunda on Monday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats would vote to table Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s attempt to remove Speaker Mike Johnson, the caucus’ leadership announced Tuesday, likely inoculating Johnson in the event Greene triggers her motion to vacate the speakership.

The proactive statement, released after the caucus’ Tuesday morning meeting, marks a departure from the wait-and-see approach that Democratic leaders have been taking.

“At this moment, upon completion of our national security work, the time has come to turn the page on this chapter of Pro-Putin Republican obstruction,” Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., and his two top deputies said in a joint statement. “If [Greene] invokes the motion, it will not succeed.”

Greene, R-Ga., introduced the resolution after the House passed the final fiscal 2024 appropriations package, and is upset that the House passed additional funding for Ukraine. But she has not invoked the privilege that would force a vote on the floor.

After the Democrats’ joint statement, however, Greene wrote on X that she would force the vote on Johnson’s fate, regardless of where the votes end up.

“I’m a big believer in recorded votes because putting Congress on record allows every American to see the truth and provides transparency to our votes,” she wrote on the social media platform, formerly known as Twitter. “Americans deserve to see the Uniparty on full display. I’m about to give them their coming out party!”

Only Reps. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., and Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., have expressed public support for Greene’s potential effort to oust Johnson, R-La., though others have hinted at support. But if House Democrats voted with them as a bloc, that could easily be enough to remove Johnson and throw the House back into chaos. 

In her X post on Tuesday, Greene accused Johnson of making a “slimy back room deal” with the Democrats in exchange for their backing.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday after a House GOP conference meeting, Johnson said he “made no deals at all” with the Democrats.

“I’ve never requested assistance from anyone,” Johnson said at his weekly news conference. “I’m not focused on that at all. I’ve got to do my job and continue to keep my head down.”

David Lerman contributed to this report.

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