House Speaker solution...


It happened again. Unclear is whether anyone is actually surprised.

Speaker Mike Johnson is at risk of being ousted after hard-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene filed a motion to vacate on Friday in the middle of a House vote on a $1.2 trillion package to keep the government open.

It’s the same political dynamic that removed the last Republican speaker, Kevin McCarthy, just five months ago when far-right conservatives revolted over his compromise with Democrats to prevent a federal shutdown. But this one faces steeper odds with less GOP support ....

.... “Speaker Johnson always listens to the concerns of members but is focused on governing,” spokesman Raj Shah said. “He will continue to push conservative legislation that secures our border, strengthens our national defense and demonstrates how we’ll grow our majority.”

Under the rules, any member can make the motion privileged, which would require leaders to schedule a vote within two legislative days. But it can also simply sit until lawmakers return next month.

Greene, of Georgia, said she was issuing a “warning” to Johnson but did not indicate a timetable for her next move.

“We’ve started the clock to start the process to elect a new speaker,” she said on the Capitol steps.


(Associated Press↱)

Five months.

Now, what has happened? Well, after five months, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA14) has filed to overturn Speaker Johnson. For those too young to remember, or even older conservatives who would pretend to have forgotten, Republicans are the ones who used to complain that government doesn't work. And what we've learned, over the course of decades, is this Reaganite cause is in fact its own sort of cause: It was not a warning of government inefficiency, but a promise of what conservatives intended.

Meanwhile, sure, it's all procedure, and all, and those sorts of technicalities count, but it does seem MTG is making this into a sort of governance by extortion: She can't win what she wants any other way, so she threatens and waits to see what sort of leverage that generates.

And, remember, it's not that she's trying to get anything accomplished; MTG is trying to disrupt basic government function.

Stay tuned.

(What counts as going nowhere? That could be where this goes.)
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Notes:

Mascaro, Lisa, Farnoush Amiri, and Stephen Groves. "Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene files motion to oust Speaker Mike Johnson". Associated Press. 22 March 2024. APNews.com. 22 March 2024. https://bit.ly/4amKBRW
 
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If they keep going down this route the next speaker will be a Democrat, with Mike Gallagher (R-Wis) resigning as of 19th of April. He has seemingly deliberately timed his departure for this date as the laws in Wisconsin (which he represents) would allow a fast-track election to replace him if he departs before the second Tuesday in April in the year of an election. By vacating as of 19th, it means the seat will be empty until the election!
If they lose two more seats then I think the Democrats will have the majority!
 
One More Time Around?

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Per Jake Sherman↱, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY04) "told Johnson in front of the entire House Republican Conference that he should clean the barn and resign or else he'll be vacated."

It's the line of the day; the detail, from The Hill:

Massie's announcement came less than 24 hours after Johnson unveiled the outline of a plan to move foreign aid through the House, which includes voting on three separate bills to send assistance to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan and a fourth measure that pertains to other national security priorities.

But in a departure from his previous positions, Johnson did not include border security provisions in the plan after months of Republicans — including the Speaker — demanding that any aid for Ukraine be paired with legislation to address the situation at the southern border, sparking intense opposition among conservatives.

Speaking to reporters after Tuesday's meeting, Massie referenced Johnson's decision to put Ukraine aid on the floor — in addition to his handling of government funding and the reauthorization of the U.S.'s warrantless surveillance authority — to explain why he is now backing the ouster effort.

"There's only one person right now who could stop us from going into what happened last fall, and that's Mike Johnson," Massie said, referring to the ouster of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in October.

"He's cleaning the barn, that's obvious," he continued. "He had three things to do: He wanted to do an omnibus that broke all the spending records, he wanted to do FISA without warrants, now he wants to do Ukraine. Those are the three things. There are people riding him like a horse here; they don't care when the horse collapses — I do, because it's gonna throw our conference into turmoil."

It's not quite word salad from Massie. An old thesis that never worked out wondered if maybe a certain turn in conservative behavior was a manner of forcing other people to force conservatives to do the right thing. It's far too narrow and complicated, but it's also a joke that keeps on giving.

Watch to see whether Speaker Johnson actually moves on these bills. Liberal-side socmed chatter spends too much time implying this or that Republican is somehow a Russian or Chinese pawn, and while there is also some serious murmur about foreign influence, the thing is that even the most bought and paid of politicians must occasionally function as if they remember what their real job is.

Because the gray area, there, with Speaker Johnson is that the theocrat with a family-run business and no bank account isn't the strangest variety in the conservative garden. We must remmber that the great sin in the GOP is a government that actually functions; questions of foreign influence will persist, but the differential, the known Republican pursuit of government dysfunction even to the point of sabotage, is Ockham's steady poison.

And in that way, consider the idea that Speaker Johnson is "cleaning the barn" by moving on the sort of foreign-policy bills that once upon a time would have found wide bipartisan support, and have fallen into dispute not for any principled argument about government, constitution, or society, but, rather, that dysfunction is the only trick left in the Republican bag.

The idea that Johnson will move the bills, since he's going to be vacated, anyway, kind of makes the point; for Congressional Republicans, either government doesn't work, or you're fired.
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Notes:

@JakeSherman. "MASSIE told Johnson in front of the entire House Republican Conference that he should clean the barn and resign or else he'll be vacated." X. 16 April 2024. Twitter.com. 16 April 2024. https://bit.ly/3JlI7b1

Schnell, Mychael. "First Republican publicly backs Greene effort to oust Speaker Johnson". The Hill. 16 April 2024. TheHill.com. 16 April 2024. https://bit.ly/3TTdNt2
 
A possibility is that Johnson has been given assurance from the other side of the aisle that if he at least plays ball when it comes to the normal "keeping the lights on" types of legislation, they will protect him from an attempt to remove him. It takes a full vote of the house, and with the razor thin majority the GOP has, it would take just a few votes from the DEM side for him to retain his seat.
 
A possibility is that Johnson has been given assurance from the other side of the aisle that if he at least plays ball when it comes to the normal "keeping the lights on" types of legislation, they will protect him from an attempt to remove him. It takes a full vote of the house, and with the razor thin majority the GOP has, it would take just a few votes from the DEM side for him to retain his seat.
A pity there couldn't be a motion to vacate what is inside of the heads of the likes of Queen Maj- or just suspend them on the grounds of bringing the House into disrepute.
 
A possibility is that Johnson has been given assurance from the other side of the aisle that if he at least plays ball when it comes to the normal "keeping the lights on" types of legislation, they will protect him from an attempt to remove him. It takes a full vote of the house, and with the razor thin majority the GOP has, it would take just a few votes from the DEM side for him to retain his seat.
Surely the Dems won't want to remove the current speaker only for an even worse MAGA performer to take the helm? Plus they'd surely get more mileage out of seeing the in-fighting in the Reps continue? Let the Reps come up with someone that at least they all endorse, so that the Dems' vote won't matter.
 
A possibility is that Johnson has been given assurance from the other side of the aisle that if he at least plays ball when it comes to the normal "keeping the lights on" types of legislation, they will protect him from an attempt to remove him.

One point to watch is the suggestion that Johnson is trying to kill Ukraine aid by cutting the bill into four separate parts. The question on that is which Republicans will play along and kill the Ukraine bill. Conventional wisdom suggests the bill will pass the House, but the Senate GOP might have enough votes to filibuster.

Meanwhile, the Speaker already has a Senate bill that he could send to the House floor; the problem is that it might pass.
 
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