What Could the Potential Resignation of Speaker Johnson Mean for Congress?

By: Georgia | Published: Jun 10, 2024

Polarizing figure in the US House of Representatives, Marjorie Taylor Greene, has stated her intention to trigger a vote for the resignation of Speaker Mike Johnson for next week, according to The Hill.

Johnson is in his fourth House term and has represented Louisiana’s 4th congressional district since 2017.

Greene Makes Good on Her Warning

Controversial Republican Greene introduced her motion for the resignation about a month ago to the House of Representatives. Now, she plans to activate this motion next week, at which point the lower chamber of Congress will have two days to consider it.

Marjorie Taylor Greene posing for a photograph with the American flag behind her. She is wearing a floral print top with an eagle necklace.

Source: Wikipedia House Creative Services Marjorie Taylor Greene Press Kit Public Domain

The far-right politician has been the representative for the 14th congressional district in Georgia since 2021.


Accusations Levied Against Speaker Johnson

Greene’s remarks in the House were disparaging and seemed a cause for concern in the Republican party, saying, “Once he became Speaker, he has become a man that none of us recognize. We’re not going to have a House majority if we keep Mike Johnson.”

Marjorie Taylor Greene with her staff. She is wearing a red dress, and there are people behind her, a mixture of men and women in suits, and they are standing while Greene is sitting at a desk.

Source: Wikipedia Public Domain, from X of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene

Greene’s previous extremist beliefs have included promoting antisemitic and white supremacist rhetorics such as the white genocide conspiracy theory, QAnon, and Pizzagate.

Massie’s Lack of Faith

While fellow Republican Thomas Massie promoted himself as a backer of Greene’s proposal, he himself admitted that this vote was likely to fail. Massie had initially voiced his support for the replacement of Johnson but seems to have changed his tack when faced with the reality of a vote.

Thomas Massie poses for a photograph, his hair tousled, and he wears a suit with a blue shirt, striped tie, and gold pin. He wears glasses. He is surrounded by his family as he is being sworn in.

Source: Wikipedia United States Congress Public Domain

Following his victory over Bill Adkins in the 2012 general election, Massie has been the United States representative for the 4th congressional district of Kentucky since then.

Why Is There a Target on Johnson?

Far-right Republicans like Greene have accused Johnson of having too much investment in foreign policy matters, particularly in funding a bill to provide aid to Ukraine, which Johnson initiated, sparking criticism from radical Republicans.

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson speaking at a lectern with the American flag behind him as representatives are seated in the foreground and beside him.

Source: Wikipedia Office of Speaker Mike Johnson Public Domain

No stranger to polarizing views himself, Johnson is a young-earth creationist and sat on the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention from 2004 to 2012.

The Democrats’ Stance

In a strange move, Democrats appear to be in support of Johnson. Democrat Jared Moskowitz said they would not back Greene’s proposal because, in his perspective according to The Hill, it would create a knock-on effect allowing for the removal of any Speaker in the future, setting a dangerous precedent.

Jared Moskowitz posing for a photograph in a blue suit with a plaid tie and a green and yellow pin, he stands in front of an American flag.

Source: Wikipedia Office of the Chief Administrative Officer Public Domain

A relative newcomer to the House of Representatives, Moskowitz has only been serving as the U.S. representative for Florida’s 23rd congressional district since 2023.


Cross Party Alliance

In a rare move in the House, it would seem that for Johnson to pass his foreign aid package, the “Wartime Speaker” would need to reach across the aisle to count on the Democrats’ support in order for it to pass.

Mike Johnson shaking hands with Donald Trump, they are in front of three American flags, they are both wearing suits.

Source: X/Twitter from Mike Johnson’s account

Johnson’s bid for Speaker of the House was endorsed by former U.S. President Donald Trump.


Far Right Priorities

While the focus for much of the globe is on the state of the US’s allies, particularly Israel and Ukraine, House Republicans have been slamming Johnson for diverting attention and budgeting away from security at the US-Mexico border, which has been their top priority coming into the election year.

Landscape photograph of the US-Mexico border. The left side of the image is sparsely populated while the right-hand side of the image is densely populated.

Source: Wikipedia U.S. Military Public Domain

Under Biden’s administration, The U.S. Border Patrol detained the highest numbers ever reported of migrants, more than 1.7 million, crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally in the fiscal year of 2021.


Setting a Precedent

If Johnson were to be ousted, it would be only the second time in history that the motion has been successfully deployed following Kevin McCarthy’s expulsion last October. However, Johnson’s 6-month tenure would set a new record for his length as speaker.

Kevin McCarthy in a photograph, wearing a blue suit with a patterned red tie and blue shirt, the stars of the American flag are visible behind him.

Source: Wikipedia US House Photography Public Domain

McCarthy was the U.S. Representative for California’s 20th congressional district from 2007 until 2023 when he resigned.


Repeating Mistakes

With a lack of fire behind this proposed motion, many Republicans could still be feeling the wounds from McCarthy’s ousting last year, which highlighted the deep divisions within the party. This came alongside the exposure of infighting which meant the new majority was unable to function for three weeks.

Speaker Mike Johnson sitting beside Vice President Kamala Harris and President Joe Biden speaking in the foreground on the floor of the House.

Source Wikipedia Executive Office of the President of the United States Public Domain

McCarthy’s bill, which signaled his downfall, included large spending cuts and strict border policies and was criticized for being both insignificant and insufficient.

Will Johnson survive this ousting attempt? Only time will tell but with a lack of support for Greene’s motion, the outcome falling in her favor is looking increasingly unlikely.