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House votes overwhelmingly to save President Johnson from Marjorie Taylor Greene’s pressure to oust him

WASHINGTON — Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., and his allies on Wednesday rebuffed a dramatic effort by far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene to oust her from power, ending — for now — months of threats against his presidency.

The lopsided vote to “table” or reject Greene’s motion to vacate the speaker’s chair was 359 to 43. Only 10 Republicans voted with Greene, seven Democrats voted present.

There were 196 Republicans and 163 Democrats who voted to reject Greene’s motion; Along with 11 Republicans, 32 Democrats voted in favor of his motion to oust Johnson.

The vote came after weeks of threats from Greene to force the debate and after dragging her feet when it became clear she did not have enough support to impeach the speaker. Unlike last year’s successful vote to impeach former President Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., many Democrats had made clear they would vote to save the president, particularly after Johnson helped avert a shutdown of the government and pushed through the renewal of a key FISA spying tool. and transferred billions of dollars in foreign aid to Ukraine after months of delays.

During the final round of votes of the week, Greene stood up and announced that she was making a privileged motion to vacate the speaker’s chair. She was immediately booed by her colleagues when she officially announced her efforts.

“This is the ‘united party’ that the American people are looking at,” she said in response to the boos, gesturing with both hands to the Republicans and Democrats present in the House.

Johnson’s mentor and chief ally, Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., immediately moved to “file” or “kill” Greene’s motion to overturn. The speaker’s Republican allies were in a strong position to push back against Greene’s efforts given that Democratic leaders said on April 30 that their rank-and-file members would help reject Greene’s motion to vacate the speaker’s chair.

That saves Johnson’s job at least temporarily, although the fact that Democrats voted to keep him in power is sure to infuriate conservative activists and outside groups. And nothing would stop Greene or any other conservative foe from forcing another vote on Johnson’s fate in the future.

The other 10 Republicans who voted with Greene against filing the motion were Reps. Warren Davidson, R-Ohio; Alex Mooney, RW.Va.; Barry Moore, R-Ala.; Victoria Spartaz, R-Ind. ; Chip Roy, R-Texas; Paul Gosar, R-Ariz.; Eli Crane, R-Ariz.; Eric Burlison, R-Mo. ; and Andy Biggs, R-Ariz.

However, it is not clear that all would have voted on a resolution to oust Johnson if the tabling motion had failed; Roy said he was undecided.

Although passionate about toppling Johnson, his campaign never really gained traction among his colleagues. Conservative Reps. Massie and Gosar were the sole co-sponsors of his vacancy resolution. And under normal circumstances, those three GOP votes would have been enough to impeach Johnson given the slim GOP majority and if all Democrats had voted to impeach him.

But members of both parties are still suffering from the paralysis that gripped the House for three weeks last fall after Johnson’s predecessor, McCarthy, became the first president to be ousted from office midway through the congressional term. Greene, a staunch McCarthy ally, vehemently opposed McCarthy’s ouster and ultimately voted no.

The idea of ​​Democratic intervention to save Johnson has begun to bubble over the past few months, with members publicly and privately declaring they would vote against Greene’s pro-government efforts.

In her resolution and on the House floor, Greene quoted House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., as saying in a recent “60 Minutes” interview on CBS: “Even though we are in the minority, we have effectively governed like if we were in the majority because we continue to provide the majority of votes needed to get things done. These are just facts. »

“President Johnson’s tenure is defined by a selfish characteristic: When faced with the choice between advancing Republican priorities or allying with Democrats to preserve his personal power, Johnson routinely chooses to ally with Democrats,” said Greene before his speech. the vote.

Although he signed the motion to resign Greene, Massie repeatedly said he did not want to force a vote to oust her and cause similar chaos, instead pressuring Johnson to resign voluntarily.

Lawmakers, including many conservatives, have said they don’t want the battle of the presidents to repeat in the fall. In an interview with NBC News last weekend, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Whatley called for party unity when asked about Greene’s threat to force a vote to oust Johnson, arguing that the Republican Party would not be able to flip the Senate and expand its majority in the House if the Republican Party was unable to flip the Senate and expand its majority in the House. the party is divided.

“We need to make sure that all Republicans understand the seriousness of this election cycle, and they do, and we need to make sure that we’re on the same page as we move forward,” Whatley said days before the vote. .

Johnson’s allies attacked Greene as she filed her petition. Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., chairman of the Republican Main Street Caucus and no relation to the speaker, ran toward the cameras on the Capitol steps to disparage her.

“We know this motion will do nothing to make America stronger. It will do nothing to bring a victory to conservatives,” he said. “She is engaged in a failed act of political theater. … We are going to do what adults do; we are going to ignore the tantrums and instead work to actually govern this country.”

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News Source : www.nbcnews.com

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