Democrats have made a shock move to support Republican Speaker Mike Johnson

  • By Anthony Churcher
  • BBC News

image source, Good pictures

Top congressional Democrats announced Tuesday that they would throw away House Speaker Mike Johnson as a lifeline if Republicans tried to remove him.

Few have indicated that Mr Johnson is backing Mr Johnson against conservatives in his own party for providing $61bn in military aid to Ukraine.

“The time has come to turn the page on this episode of pro-Putin Republican obstructionism,” the House Democratic leadership said in a statement, implying that Republicans who oppose support for Ukraine are helping Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Mr Johnson, a devout evangelical Louisiana conservative with strong right-wing views on social issues such as abortion, now effectively leads a coalition government in the House.

That could be a bitter pill to swallow for Democrats who strongly disagree with him on policy and believe their party could benefit from the Republican turmoil. However, cooperation with the Speaker goes beyond aid to Ukraine.

A convenient alliance

Earlier this year, Mr Johnson relied on Democratic votes to approve new operating funds for the US government, averting a partial shutdown of services and keeping many of the Democratic spending priorities intact.

Three weeks ago, he refused members of his own party to reauthorize a controversial national security surveillance program.

Some conservatives had been pushing for his removal even before Ukraine reached the base.

In March, Marjorie Taylor Green of Georgia filed a motion urging a vote to remove him. He warned on Tuesday that he would bring the motion to a vote soon.

“Americans deserve to see uniparty on full display,” he added, using a term popularized by those who say there is no real difference between Democrats and Republicans.

However, rank-and-file House Republicans appear uneasy at the prospect of a new battle, six months after the previous speaker, Kevin McCarthy, was ousted from office.

It took less than three weeks of infighting and wrangling within the party before Mr Johnson, an unknown relative, won the job with unanimous Republican support.

Donald Trump has been a key and somewhat unlikely ally for Mr Johnson throughout this latest challenge to his leadership.

The former president and 2024 Republican presidential front-runner has offered words of praise for the bewildered speaker, saying in a radio interview last week that he is “trying too hard.”

He noted that Mr Johnson had to work with a Republican majority in the chamber.

Democratic support for Mr Johnson, coupled with Mr Trump's continued support, means he is likely to retain power even if all 435 House seats are up for election in November.

If Republicans retain control of the chamber – which is far from guaranteed – Mr Johnson cannot count on Democratic support, however, leaving open the possibility of another prediction among conservatives.

For now, however, Mr Johnson said he would focus on getting his work done.

“We have to do what we believe is the right thing,” he told reporters at the Capitol on Tuesday.

What the country needs now is a functioning Congress.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *