GOP Speaker Mike Johnson barely holds the House majority as he approaches 100 days in office


WASHINGTON (AP) – New president mike johnson He finds himself leading House Republicans with only a nominal majority.

can’t pull myself together uncontrolled right side And commanding one of the smallest House majorities in history, Johnson is being forced to rely on Democrats for the basics of governing, including the latest bill. prevent federal shutdown,

As his first 100 days on the job approach, Johnson faces challenging choices ahead. He may try to control stereotypes in endless hours of closed-door meetings, to work together as a team. Or he can continue to reach out to Democrats for bipartisan alliance Passing compromise legislation.

So far, rather than being the speaker of the passive GOP majority, Johnson, R-La., has shown he is willing to assemble a rare, large majority of Democrats and Republicans to work with a Democratic president. Joe Biden,

And this supermajority is exactly what some in Congress want, but others fear is coming.

“Everyone understands the reality of where we are,” Johnson said at a weekly news conference.

“House Republicans have the second smallest majority in history,” he said. “We will not get everything we want. But we will stick to our core conservative principles.”

Johnson is as conservative as they come in Washington. He is an “agitator” conservative steeped in Christian beliefs who made his way out of Louisiana working in the trenches of hard-right social policy, particularly against abortion, gay rights and other issues.

Has formed a coalition with Johnson, elected in 2016 Donald Trump who won the White House that year, and Johnson leads a major legal challenge to Trump Efforts are being made to overturn Biden’s election in 2020.

For now, the far-right forces that ousted Johnson’s predecessor, Former California representative Kevin McCarthy, from the Speaker’s office, allowing a grace period. They are frustrated by Johnson’s reluctance to take dramatic action like a government shutdown to achieve his priorities. But he’s happy that at least Johnson is coming with him.

But radical Republicans are watching and waiting – anyone can file a legislative a motion for vote to oust the Speaker – particularly as Johnson faces further challenges on government spending, US border security and the war in Ukraine and Gaza,

“Joining forces with the Democrats to form a governing coalition is a disservice to the American people,” said Virginia Representative Bob Good, chair-elect of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus, after last week’s vote to keep the government running.

Good complained that passage of the short-term spending bill, which Biden signed into law before Friday’s midnight deadline, was a “failure.”

Johnson faces the threat of another shutdown on March 1 when some of the temporary funding runs out again.

More immediately, Johnson and House Republicans are carefully watching Senate negotiations on an immigration and border security package designed to reduce the record flow of migrants and speed up deportations of some of those already in the United States. States have entered the United States illegally.

Biden is considering this emerging border settlement As part of his sweeping $110 billion national security package, necessitated by the need for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s military to replenish armaments in its fight against Russian aggression.

But such a deal, swapping border policy for Ukraine aid, could be politically disastrous for Johnson, whose Trump-aligned Republicans want an even tougher stance against migrants at the US-Mexico border and a tough stance on US foreign policy. Want a more isolationist approach that rejects Ukraine aid.

biden hosted congress leaders At the White House last week, the new speaker was surrounded by prominent and influential voices, including the chairs of national security committees, to explain to Johnson the challenges ahead.

This placed the Speaker at the central seat of American power.

The top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, Representative Adam Smith of Washington state, spoke at one point during the White House meeting. He gave Johnson a pitch.

“The argument I made to them was, ‘You know, the border is not going to be resolved,'” Smith recalled.

Smith told Johnson there was no “magic law” that would suddenly end the countless number of immigrants coming north.

“But we can make it better,” Smith said.

“So make it better,” Smith continued. “And I said, ‘You know, politically, you’re still going to be in a position of bashing Democrats at the border. That’s not going away.'”

“So why don’t you do something nice for the border, why don’t you do something nice for Ukraine, and you’ve still got your politics,” Smith said. And it’s a win, win is win.”

And Johnson’s response?

“He didn’t say anything,” Smith said.

The speakership of Johnson is being loomed by Trump, the former president who promoted McCarthy to speakership but then did not save him from removal. Trump is now the party’s leading contender for the presidential nomination in 2024 to challenge Biden for the White House.

Johnson and Trump talk often, but some of Trump’s strongest allies in the House are conservatives who push the speaker to the right and deprive him of a governing majority.

Trump signaled his skepticism over the emerging border deal, but also expressed his confidence in the speaker’s ability to drive the toughest bargain for Republicans.

In many ways, Johnson finds himself living day to day, just as McCarthy was trying to keep Congress running and keep his job.

“Speaker Johnson is in 24-hour survival mode,” said Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, the lead Democratic negotiator on the border package. “He has to say whatever he has to say in order to survive Wednesday through Thursday and Thursday through Friday.”

Last weekend’s vote to block the shutdown exposed the limits of Johnson’s hold on the majority.

Republicans control the House by only a few seats, 220–213. That number will dwindle over the weekend, when one of several MPs who have already announced their retirement will leave early. Absenteeism, illnesses and weather delays further reduce numbers.

When voting was underway, 107 Republicans voted against the temporary spending bill and 106 voted for it, which would have been a politically embarrassing outcome if Johnson’s majority had not also been on board.

By the time voting closed, the bill was approved by an overwhelming majority of Democrats and Republicans, 314–108. The final numbers were 107 Republicans in favor of the bill and 106 Republicans opposed.

“He’s doing his best,” said Ohio Representative Jim Jordan, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and an unsuccessful opponent of the speakership. “Mike is a good guy, a friend, and it’s a tough situation but he’s trying his best.”


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