Some Democrats signal support for embattled House Republican Speaker Johnson

By Thomson Reuters Apr 21, 2024 | 11:22 AM

By Jasper Ward

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democrats in the House of Representatives on Sunday signaled a willingness to support House Speaker Mike Johnson, as Republican hardliners threaten to oust him following the passage of critical aid for Ukraine.

Democratic U.S. Representative Jared Moskowitz said in an interview with Fox News Sunday that ousting Johnson now would only embolden U.S. foes like Russia and Iran at a time of global turmoil.

Democratic Representative Ro Khanna said he would oppose Johnson being ousted as speaker, adding that “he deserves to keep his job till the end of his term.”

Democratic support for Johnson could block the effort from some members of his party to oust him.

Earlier this month, Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene filed a motion to vote to oust Johnson if he allowed a vote on more aid for Ukraine in its conflict with Russia. On Saturday, the House passed a bill providing nearly $61 billion to address the conflict, a top priority for the Democratic administration of President Joe Biden.

Greene, again saying on Sunday that Johnson needs to resign, accused him of “absolutely working for the Democrats.”

Asked on Fox News if she is going to file the motion at some point, Greene said, “It’s coming regardless of what Mike Johnson decides to do.”

If there is a vote on the speaker, the speaker has the support of Republican Representative Michael McCaul, who serves as chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

“I think the stock in Mike Johnson has gone way up because he did the right thing,” McCaul told ABC News on Sunday. “I think he (Johnson) is in good shape,” he said.

Johnson was elected speaker after a small band of hardline Republicans ousted his predecessor, Kevin McCarthy, in a move that brought the House of Representatives to a halt for weeks.

Former President Donald Trump, the Republican presidential candidate facing a rematch with Biden on Nov. 5, has thrown his support behind Johnson, saying the embattled speaker is “doing a really good job under very tough circumstances.”

(Reporting by Jasper Ward; additional reporting Kanishka Singh, editing by Ross Colvin and Chizu Nomiyama)