Sat. Jun 15th, 2024

Senate conservatives pan Greene’s ‘horrible idea’ to oust Speaker Johnson

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun12,2024

Senate conservatives are urging Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) to back off her attempt to oust Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), saying it’s a waste of time and Congress has higher priorities ahead of the November election.

Greene filed her motion to vacate a month ago to protest the Speaker’s handling of Ukraine aid, government spending and reauthorization of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and Republicans have been dreading the moment when she forces a vote on the resolution. The Georgia Republican announced Wednesday she would move next week to bring it to the floor.

Only two House Republicans have publicly backed her effort, and she’s not finding any more support among the ranks of Senate conservatives, many of whom believe Johnson is the right person to steer the conference and that a leadership change today would be political malpractice.

“It’s a horrible idea,” Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) told The Hill. “Moses could not do a better job than what Mike Johnson is doing right now.”

“I think he’s doing the very best possible [job] in the situation with a slim majority where the Democrats control the Senate and the White House,” he continued. “There’s not a more conservative person over there that can be elected Speaker than Mike Johnson is.”

Johnson has been largely dismissive of Greene’s effort to remove him from the Speakership using the same mechanism a different group of conservatives used to oust former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in October.

He recently said in an interview that he does not consider Greene a serious lawmaker. 

“We do the right thing and we let the chips fall where they may,” Johnson told NewsNation, which is owned by the same parent company as The Hill. 

Greene’s push is widely expected to fail. Johnson’s conservative critics in the House have previously indicated they have little appetite for a repeat of the three weeks of chaos that ensued after McCarthy was removed.

And Democratic leadership, along with rank-and-file members of the party, have pledged to help save Johnson’s gavel after he put Ukraine aid on the floor, where it easily passed.

Still, leading conservatives in the Senate wish the effort would go by the wayside. 

“I think it is utterly ridiculous and counterproductive,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said. 

Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.), who is running for the Indiana governorship this year, noted the effort could harm the Republican agenda for the remainder of the year and said conservatives don’t support it because there is no real fallback option.

It took three weeks and multiple failed candidacies for the House GOP conference to elect Johnson.

“Who’s raised their hand that would want to be [Speaker]?” Braun asked.

Greene’s effort has also been stymied by former President Trump’s support for Johnson in recent weeks.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) also threw his full support behind the embattled Speaker earlier this week.

“I’m relieved as I think all of America is that the chaos in the House will be discontinued,” McConnell told reporters Wednesday. “I think it’s a benefit to our country, a benefit to the House, a benefit to the reputation of Congress.”

While Johnson’s recent series of bipartisan deals to keep the government open and to move on aid for Ukraine have angered a number of conservatives, many of them have been hoping to avoid a motion to vacate vote on the floor despite Greene’s insistence of putting members on the record. 

Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), a leading House Freedom Caucus member, said recently that the ability to oust a Speaker “exist for reasons, but they should be deployed sparingly” — a sentiment shared by some of his Senate colleagues on the right ahead of the November election.

Most members would much prefer to focus on putting Trump back in the White House and winning control of Congress instead of what they see as a one-sided, petty fight.

“I think we’ll be in a better position going into the fall if we stick together as Republicans,” said Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), a former House Freedom Caucus member herself. 

“Don’t do it, don’t do it. That would be my suggestion,” she added.

Even those most dissatisfied with Johnson in the Senate GOP ranks won’t go so far as to throw their lot in with Greene this time around. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said multiple times in a brief interview that Johnson has “done a terrible job” since taking over the gavel, but declined to say whether he is supportive of the Georgia Republican’s actions.

“They have to decide that. That’s not for me to say,” Paul said.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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2 thoughts on “Senate conservatives pan Greene’s ‘horrible idea’ to oust Speaker Johnson”
  1. It’s a terrible idea, and I believe Mike Johnson is handling the situation the best he can. Greene’s efforts to oust him are just a distraction from more urgent matters in Congress.

  2. It’s a horrible idea! I believe Johnson is handling the situation appropriately given the circumstances. We cannot let this distraction take focus away from more critical matters leading up to the election.

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