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Speaker Johnson called on to resign over issue of Ukraine aid

Wednesday, 17 April 2024, 02:47
Speaker Johnson called on to resign over issue of Ukraine aid
Photo: Getty Images

On Tuesday, Republican Thomas Massie, a vocal critic of continued aid to Ukraine, said he would join Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene in calling for House Speaker Mike Johnson's resignation. He said that Johnson should allow the Republican Party to elect a new leader and then resign.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Details: Johnson on Tuesday vowed to remain speaker despite the fact that he’s facing the biggest challenge to his leadership since taking office last autumn. The challenge stems from his efforts to pass long-awaited funding for Ukraine, Israel and other foreign allies.


Johnson is now trying to get the complex four-part bill through the House of Representatives by the end of the week. He is relying heavily on Democratic votes and, at the same time, trying to keep his job.

A growing number of Republicans are indicating that they are disappointed with his leadership. Members have expressed concern about his proposal to pass four separate bills, combine them and send them to the Senate.

A new threat to Johnson's presidency emerged on Tuesday morning when Republican Thomas Massie, a vocal critic of continued aid to Ukraine, said he would join Marjorie Taylor Greene in calling for Johnson's resignation. Greene submitted the motion last month but has not yet sought a vote.

Massie said Johnson should allow the Republican Party to elect a new leader and then resign, arguing that a motion to vacate the chair would receive more support now than in October when a group of eight rebellious Republicans organised the resignation of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

Quote from Johnson: "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.

We need steady hands at the wheel. I regard myself as a wartime speaker. I didn’t anticipate that this would be an easy path."

More details: Massie's move comes amid frustration among a large bloc of conservatives that Johnson has repeatedly asked Democrats to help pass bills to fund the government and other important measures.

However, by the end of Tuesday, no other Republican had joined the resignation motion, and there was no indication that any lawmaker would replace Johnson if he were removed from office.

Johnson has been under intense pressure from the White House and many lawmakers to act on funding for Ukraine.

After repeated delays, Johnson unveiled late Monday a plan to bring four separate bills to the House floor, a manoeuvre aimed at ending the long-running deadlock over a US$95 billion foreign-aid package passed by the Senate earlier this year.

Leaders of both parties in Congress along with President Biden had called on Johnson to support the Senate bill. Instead, Johnson divided the aid into parts. By doing that he tried to circumvent a large group of Republicans, including Greene and Massie, who opposed giving Ukraine more money.

Johnson stated that he had planned to show the actual text of the measures as early as Tuesday, while the White House and Democrats in Congress said they are awaiting details.

But by Tuesday afternoon, lawmakers and Johnson's aides were saying that Johnson's plan to pass aid measures for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan separately, along with a bill that has several Republican Party priorities such as TikTok restrictions and then merge them into one bill to send to the Senate, was crumbling apart.

Congressman French Hill noted that more and more people at the conference were advocating for separate bills rather than bundling them together.

Republicans were also frustrated that the bill contained no immigration measures.

During a closed-door meeting of House Republicans on Tuesday morning, Massie called on Johnson to announce his resignation immediately so that Republicans could hold a leadership election before he steps down.

Democrats have stated that they would intervene to keep Johnson in his position if Republicans tried to remove him from office over the Ukraine issue.

"My position hasn’t changed. Massie wants the world to burn, I won’t stand by and watch. I have a bucket of water," Congressman Jared Moskowitz wrote on social media.

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