"You're Not Going To Be Speaker Much Longer" - Massie Joins MTG In Calling For Johnson's Ouster

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by Tyler Durden
Wednesday, Apr 17, 2024 - 12:45 PM

Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie on Tuesday became the second representative to call for an end to Mike Johnson's reign as Speaker of the House, joining Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene. 

He delivered that news directly to Johnson in a closed-door Republican conference meeting, telling the Louisianan "you’re not going to be the speaker much longer,” two representatives told Politico. Massie has criticized Johnson for backing aid packages for Ukraine and Israel, kick-the-can spending bills and the extension of warrantless NSA spying via the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act -- while failing to bolster border security. 

In March, Greene -- incensed at Johnson for collaborating with Democrats to push through a $1.2 trillion spending package over the objection of conservatives seeking spending cuts -- filed a motion to "vacate the chair," which would initiate a vote by House members on whether to fire Johnson from the job of speaker.

It's unclear when Greene, Massie or someone else will call for a vote on the motion. Greene has said that she wants to allow time "for us to go through the process, take our time and find a new speaker of the House that will stand with Republicans and our Republican majority instead of standing with the Democrats.” She's also expressed wariness over risking the GOP's razor-thin House majority -- which has withered in recent weeks as multiple Republicans announced they're leaving Congress before finishing their terms

Massie says it's only a matter of time before the House votes on Greene's motion to vacate. “The motion is going to get called, OK? Does anybody doubt that? The motion will get called," Massie told reporters after Tuesday's meeting.  "And then he's gonna lose more votes than Kevin McCarthy. And I have told him this in private, like weeks ago.” Johnson's predecessor, Kevin McCarthy, was himself dethroned in October via a motion to vacate the chair.

While Massie and Greene are far from alone in their disappointment in Johnson, many of their disgruntled colleagues are wary of a scenario in which Johnson is ousted and the House spends days or weeks  struggling to settle on a successor.  

"We saw what happened last fall when this all went down — there’s not an alternative…You are not going to get a majority of votes for any new person,” Louisiana Rep. Garret Graves told Politico.  

Massie has asked Johnson to first allow the party to select a successor, and then voluntarily step down. On Tuesday, Johnson was defiant. “I am not resigning and it is in my view an absurd notion that someone would bring a vacate motion when we are simply trying to do our job,” he told reporters. 

Massie's announcement in the closed-door meeting ruffled feathers. Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan voiced his discomfort with the idea, saying, "We don't need that, no way. We don't want that. We shouldn't go through that again. That's a bad idea.” 

On Monday night, Johnson compounded conservatives' anger when he announced he would bring four separate measures to a vote: aid to Ukraine, aid to Israel, aid to Taiwan and another bill with miscellaneous measures including a TikTok ban. As the New York Times explains, the goal is to cobble together legislation that would match what Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is cooking up: 

If all four pieces passed the House, they would then be folded into a single bill for the Senate to take up, in an effort to ensure that senators could not cherry-pick pieces to approve or reject.

“We’re steering toward everything Chuck Schumer wants,” said Massie. Decoupling the proposals also saps conservatives' leverage to force more spending on border security. Greene called the plan "a scam" and added, "He’s definitely not going to be speaker next Congress if we’re lucky enough to have the majority."