House Republicans are once again finding themselves at odds with each other as threats to House Speaker Mike Johnson’s leadership begin to emerge from the right flank of their conference.
“Anyone that wants to go in that direction is showing how unserious they are about us maintaining the majority,” Rep. Nick Langworthy, R-N.Y., told Fox News Digital about suggestions of filing a motion to vacate against Johnson, R-La.
“It looks like they’re just trying to sabotage the future, and they’re working for Joe Biden at that point.”
GOP hardliners are furious over Johnson’s deal aimed at averting a government shutdown that he struck with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. Several have previously told Fox News Digital that it put the conference in the same or worse position than after ousted former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., struck a similar deal with President Biden last spring.
Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, said on “The Steve Deace Show” Tuesday of filing a possible motion to vacate, “I’m leaving it on the table. I’m not gonna say I’m gonna go file it tomorrow. I’m not saying I’m not going to file it tomorrow.”
However, Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, R-N.Y., a conservative who is also skeptical of the deal so far, told Fox News Digital, “It’s not our leader that’s the problem, it’s the leader in the Senate and the White House that’s the problem.”
As part of a deal to win the speakership last January, McCarthy allowed the threshold for a motion to vacate — which triggers a vote to oust the House speaker — to just one lawmaker needed to trigger it.
Johnson, who took over the role in late October after McCarthy was ousted, did not change the rule.
Rep. Eric Burlison, R-Mo., a hardliner who opposes Johnson’s deal, told Fox News Digital Wednesday morning that he was “not one to start a fight” over his leadership but agreed the option should remain there.
“I think that the motion to vacate is an important measure,” he said. “I don’t think members should take it off the table. Because at the end of the day, my district, people are very frustrated. And if you’re in a situation where… you’re more fearing the moderates than you are the conservatives, that we’re going to… continue to have bad outcomes.”
Like his predecessor, the threats to Johnson’s job came up after he cobbled together a bipartisan spending deal while negotiating against a Democratic Senate and White House.
Establishment conservatives and mainstream Republicans acknowledged his predicament and said there would be severe consequences for the party if they booted another leader.
Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., called it “a ludicrous notion.”
“Nobody should be bringing up the word vacate. The speaker is doing and getting the best deal you can get with… 1/3 of government,” he said. “We should support him.”
Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., did not speak directly about the threats but acknowledged the predicament Johnson is in while speaking to reporters Wednesday after a House GOP meeting to discuss the deal.
“It’s kind of hard to worry about bailing water when you’ve got the alligators nipping at you, and that’s exactly the kind of conditions the speaker finds himself in,” Womack said.
Even some hardliners are opposed to the idea, including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., and Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla. — who initiated McCarthy’s ouster.
“I’m not supportive of a motion to vacate Speaker Johnson,” Gaetz told Fox News Digital. “What comes next could be worse.”
The speaker himself brushed the threats off during his weekly House GOP leadership press conference that same morning.
“I’m not concerned about that, we’re leading” he said. “We have very difficult challenges, but we’re going to advance the ball, we’re going to advance our conservative principles, and we’re going to demonstrate that we can govern well.”
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