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US House blocks bid to remove Speaker Mike Johnson

In News, World
May 09, 2024

In rare bipartisan move, Republicans and Democrats easily defeat effort by Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene.

The United States House of Representatives has voted overwhelmingly to defeat an effort by Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene to remove Speaker Mike Johnson, a fellow Republican.

In an unusual move, Democrats joined Republicans in a 359-43 vote on Wednesday to keep Johnson in his leadership role and stave off further turmoil in the House.

“I appreciate the show of confidence from my colleagues to defeat this misguided effort,” Johnson said following the vote. “Hopefully this is the end of the character assassination that has characterised the current Congress.”

Hardline Representative Greene has, for weeks, sought to get Johnson kicked out after a string of compromises he made with Democrats over a $95bn bill for security assistance to US allies Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.

Greene is a leading voice of the far-right flank opposed to helping Ukraine. After the House passed the bill in April, she called Johnson a “lame duck”.

Johnson’s leadership was “pathetic, weak, and unacceptable”, Greene said on Wednesday as she triggered the “motion to vacate” measure.

The same procedure was used to remove former Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy in October, the first time in US history that the House voted to remove its leader.

Republicans have a slim 217-213 majority in the House. Most opposed the vote to remove Johnson, with only 11 in favour and 196 against.

“As I’ve said from the beginning, and I’ve made clear here every day, I intend to do my job,” Johnson said. “And I’ll let the chips fall where they may. In my view, that is leadership.”

Democrats, led by Representative Hakeem Jeffries, had promised to keep Johnson in his seat, with 163 against the motion.

“Our decision to stop Marjorie Taylor Greene from plunging the country into further chaos is rooted in our commitment to solve problems,” Jeffries, the House Minority Leader, said after the vote.

Greene’s move represented a rare Republican defiance of presumptive presidential candidate Donald Trump, who in a social media post following the House vote said it was “not the time” for Republicans to try to push out their own speaker.

“This is not an individual who knows how to lead,” Republican Marcus Molinaro said of Greene after the vote. “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.”

Some Republicans said she could face disciplinary action for attempting to sow disunity in the party.

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