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Vote to oust U.S. House Speaker Johnson...

Vote to oust U.S. House Speaker Johnson could come next week

By: Frank Corder - May 1, 2024

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., talks with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., before Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida addresses a joint meeting of Congress in the House chamber, Thursday, April 11, 2024, at the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

  • See what Mississippi’s congressional delegation has to say on the pending motion to vacate.

Congresswoman Majorie Taylor Greene, a Republican from Georgia, announced in a press conference outside of the U.S. Capitol Wednesday morning that she would call for a vote next week seeking to force out U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Republican from Louisiana.

“Next week I am going to be calling this motion to vacate, absolutely calling it,” Greene said after listing various pieces of legislation as why she was seeking to oust the Speaker she voted for in October of 2023.

Among Greene’s complaints against Johnson is his willingness to negotiate a spending bill that avoided a government shutdown without focusing on the closure of the southern border. She also expressed her disdain for Johnson’s support of the funding for Ukraine and the reauthorization of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, among other policy issues.

Upon the news, Speaker Johnson said in a statement the motion to vacate “is wrong for the Republican conference, wrong for the institution, and wrong for the country.”

The Republican conference in the U.S. House is now down to a historically small majority. A mere five seats separate the two parties following recent resignations, meaning Republicans can only afford to lose two votes on any issue brought to the floor.

Similar drama unfolded prior to Johnon winning the gavel when a handful of Republican members forced out then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy. It took 15 rounds of voting in January 2023 to elect McCarthy, who has now resigned from Congress. The October episode that ultimately resulted in Johnson being chosen as Speaker took three weeks for the GOP majority to finally coalesce around a compromise candidate.

A statement from Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and other Democratic members said on Tuesday, “If she [Greene] invokes the motion, it will not succeed.”

This was surely welcome news to Johnson, though as he told the press on Tuesday, he did not seek the support of the Democrats. Johnson did say he serves the whole body in the House, reiterating his position as a “lifelong conservative Republican.”

Greene, who was joined by Congressman Thomas Massie, a Republican from Kentucky, said Wednesday that now that House Democrats have agreed to back Johnson and support a motion to table her call to vacate the chair, it was time to put Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and his fellow Democrats on record.

“I can’t wait to see Democrats support a Republican speaker…a Christian conservative,” Congresswomen Greene said. “I think that will play well. I’m excited about it.”

What Mississippi’s Congressional Delegation is Saying

Mississippi Congressman (clockwise from top left) – Trent Kelly, Bennie Thompson, Mike Ezell and Michael Guest

When contacted for comment on Wednesday, Congressman Bennie Thompson’s office told Magnolia Tribune that the “Congressman is deliberating on his position and remains undecided.”

“Once the motion is presented to the floor, he intends to listen to his constituents’ perspectives before arriving at a decision,” a spokesperson for the 2nd District Democratic Congressman said in an emailed statement.

As they did just over six months, two of Mississippi’s Republican Congressmen plan to support Speaker Johnson, assuming Greene follows through with her threat to call the motion to a vote.

Freshman 4th District Congressman Mike Ezell called the motion “ego-driven antics.”

“I plan to stand with conservative leaders like Jim Jordan, Steve Scalise, and former President Trump and vote to reject these ego-driven antics,” Ezell told Magnolia Tribune. “House Republicans can’t get distracted from what really matters to the American people: fighting to secure the border and put a stop to the Biden administration’s far-left policies.”

Former President Donald Trump recently met with Speaker Johnson and has expressed his support for the House Republican leader.

Congressman Michael Guest, chairman of the House Ethics Committee, said Speaker Johnson is “a godly man who loves this great nation and shares our conservative values.”

“Last fall, when we had a motion to vacate, we lost weeks of Congressional work that impacted our ability to push back on President Biden’s failed policies,” the 3rd District Congressman said Wednesday. “The Republican Conference needs to be unified in our fight against the progressive agenda of this administration. I do not support changing the Speaker in the middle of a Congress.”

The other Republican Congressman, Trent Kelly of the 1st District, was unavailable for comment on Wednesday. However, Kelly, like Guest and Ezell, previously supported Johnson’s bid for Speaker in October. Kelly has not given any indication that his support for the Speaker has waned.

About the Author(s)
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Frank Corder

Frank Corder is a native of Pascagoula. For nearly two decades, he has reported and offered analysis on government, public policy, business and matters of faith. Frank’s interviews, articles, and columns have been shared throughout Mississippi as well as in national publications. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, providing insight and commentary on the inner workings of the Magnolia State. Frank has served his community in both elected and appointed public office, hosted his own local radio and television programs, and managed private businesses all while being an engaged husband and father. Email Frank: