US House quickly defeats Republican hardliners’ effort to oust Speaker Johnson

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - WASHINGTON: The US House of Representatives on Wednesday swiftly and overwhelmingly defeated an effort by firebrand Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene to remove Speaker Mike Johnson, a fellow Republican, from his leadership role.

Democrats joined Republicans in a 359-43 vote to protect Johnson’s speakership, in a bid to avoid a replay of the chaos that occurred in October when Republicans ousted his predecessor, Kevin McCarthy.
Greene’s move represented a rare Republican defiance of presidential candidate Donald , who in a social media post following the House vote on Wednesday, said it was “not the time” for Republicans to try to push out their own speaker.
Greene’s measure, known as a motion to vacate, showcased the disorder that has marked Republicans’ slim 217-213 House majority, particularly since it had been clear that the effort would fail given Democrats’ opposition.
“I appreciate the show of confidence from my colleagues to defeat this misguided effort,” Johnson, 52, said following the vote. “Hopefully this is the end of the character assassination that has characterized the current Congress.”

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson speaks to members of the press after Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Greene introduced a motion to vacate on the floor of the House of Representatives seeking to remove Johnson from his leadership position May 8, 2024. (Getty Images/AFP)

Multiple Republicans criticized Greene’s move, including centrist Representative Marc Molinaro.
“This is not an individual who knows how to lead,” Molinaro said of Greene. “She’s not an individual who knows how to negotiate. And she certainly doesn’t seem to have any concern for the stability of the Congress or the people we represent.”
Greene stood flanked by fellow Republican Thomas Massie when she made her move against Johnson, criticizing him for a string of compromises with Democrats, who hold a majority in the Senate.
“Excuses like ‘this is just how you have to govern in divided government’ are pathetic, weak and unacceptable,” Greene said of Johnson. “Even with our razor-thin Republican majority we could have at least secured the border.”



Taunts and jeers
The chamber erupted in taunts and cheers at points as Greene read her resolution, with Democrats at times chanting “Hakeem, Hakeem,” a reference to their party leader, Hakeem Jeffries, in an echo of the many times they voted for him as speaker during Republicans’ multiple rounds of voting for speaker since the current House was seated in January 2021.
Johnson has angered many hard-liners by enacting bipartisan spending measures to avoid government shutdowns and aid US allies including Ukraine, without insisting on strict security measures for the US-Mexico border that Democrats reject.
The House Republicans’ border security bill had no chance of passing the Democratic-controlled Senate.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries speaks to members of the press after Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene introduced a motion to vacate against Speaker of the House Mike Johnson on May 08, 2024. (Getty Images/AFP)

A bipartisan compromise bill negotiated late last year and early this year in the Senate, with the Biden administration’s approval, was killed by House and Senate Republicans at Trump’s behest.
Johnson could be seen walking around the House floor after Greene began her call on Wednesday for his ouster, with Republican supporters shaking his hand and patting him on the back.
“Republicans have to be fighting the Radical Left Democrats, and all the Damage they have done to our Country,” Trump said in his Wednesday post. “We’re not in a position of voting on a Motion to Vacate. At some point, we may very well be, but this is not the time.”
The situation has bolstered Jeffries, who agreed to save Johnson from ouster after freeing Congress from the road block of Republican infighting by delivering crucial Democratic support for must-pass bills.
Greene in remarks to reporters after the vote did not rule out trying to oust Johnson again.
For his part, Jeffries said he hoped to see House Republicans turn against party hard-liners, saying, “The only thing we ask of our House Republican colleagues is for traditional Republicans to further isolate the extreme MAGA Republican wing of the GOP, which has visited nothing but chaos and dysfunction on the American people.”

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