Democratic leaders say they'll shield Speaker Johnson from Greene motion to vacate

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House Democratic leaders announced Tuesday that they will protect Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) from a potential conservative coup, all but ensuring the Speaker will keep the gavel through the remainder of the term.

The proclamation from Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Democratic Whip Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) and Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) is a remarkable development in the turbulent Speaker saga that’s hobbled the GOP’s governing majority from the earliest days of the 118th Congress — an unprecedented promise by the minority party to prop up an opposing leader for the sake of stabilizing chamber business. 

Their announcement comes as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) is threatening to oust Johnson over a series of deals he’s cut with President Biden, most recently on federal spending, government surveillance and aid to Ukraine.

Greene’s resolution, introduced more than a month ago, has been endorsed by only two other GOP Johnson critics — Reps. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) — and a number of rank-and-file Democrats have been vowing for months that they would shield the Speaker from an internal revolt if he ushered those bills through the chamber.

The new backing from Jeffries, Clark and Aguilar means not only that those Democrats have political cover to cross the aisle to rescue Johnson, but the numbers will almost certainly swell, insulating the Speaker from Greene’s ouster effort. 

“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,” the Democratic leaders said in a statement issued shortly after the party met as a caucus. “We will vote to table Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Motion to Vacate the Chair. If she invokes the motion, it will not succeed.”


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