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3 Republicans Now Back Motion to Vacate Speaker of the House Mike Johnson

“Mike Johnson’s Speakership is over,” Georgia GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene said on Sunday.

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-Louisiana) speaks with members of the media following passage of a series of foreign aide bills on April 20, 2024.

Over the weekend, a third member of the House Republican conference announced his support for a motion to vacate Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-Louisiana).

The motion, originally authored by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia), was not submitted through a privileged order, meaning it had to go through the same course that any other bill would have to take within the House of Representatives. However, Greene indicated when she submitted the bill that she might change her mind on its privileged status, and indicated on Saturday that it was only a matter of time before she would do so.

She encouraged Johnson to resign right away, or at least announce a date when he would do so, rather than having her force a vote to vacate his office.

“Mike Johnson’s Speakership is over. He needs to do the right thing to resign and allow us to move forward in a controlled process, and if he doesn’t do so, he will be vacated,” she said on Fox News on Sunday.

Two days before her interview on that network, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Arizona) announced he would back Greene’s motion to vacate order against Johnson, becoming the third Republican overall to back the call to oust the speaker.

In his statement, which included xenophobic rhetoric against migrants, Gosar indicated his frustration with Johnson mainly had to do with the lack of increased border security being included in a number of spending measures, including funding military support for Ukraine. As a result, Gosar said, “I have added my name in support of the motion to vacate the Speaker.”

House GOP rules allow any member of the conference to bring forward a motion to vacate order. Subsequently, the entire House takes up a vote, determining whether to remove the current speaker from their role.

In October, such a vote was used to remove former Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, followed by a number of failed votes for several days afterwards in the efforts to replace him. Eventually, Republicans settled on Johnson, a relatively unknown lawmaker in terms of national politics who harbors far right Christian nationalist views, for the position.

The close divide between Republicans and Democrats in the House means that only a small number of dissatisfied GOP lawmakers is necessary to remove a sitting speaker, presuming every Democrat votes for removal as well. Since Mike Gallagher’s (R-Wisconsin) resignation from Congress this past week, Republicans now only have 217 members in the House, with Democrats having 213 members; meaning, it would only take three Republicans, voting alongside all Democrats, to remove Johnson from power.

Whether Democrats vote for removing Johnson or not, however, is unknown at this point, although some within their ranks are indicating that they won’t go along with the idea, citing Johnson’s willingness to compromise on foreign policy and government funding.

“It’s absurd that he’s getting kicked out for doing the right thing, for keeping the government open. … The idea that he would be kicked out by these jokers is absurd,” centrist Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-New York) said late last month when Greene submitted her motion to vacate order.

Even some progressive lawmakers have signaled their opposition to giving Johnson the boot.

“We came into Congress together, and he always cared about civility. He actually led the civility pledge,” Rep. Ro Khanna (D-California) told ABC’s “This Week” program on Sunday. “And we had one issue, which was give individual votes, don’t lump things together. And I give him credit for doing this.”

“I would actually vote to table any motion to vacate him,” he added.