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Mike Johnson's job is impossible thanks to disruptive Republicans like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz

Madison Hall   

Mike Johnson's job is impossible thanks to disruptive Republicans like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz
  • In 2023, Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz kickstarted then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy's ouster.
  • On March 22, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene attempted to do the same to Speaker Mike Johnson.

Try as he might to corral the chaotic GOP caucus, Speaker of the House Mike Johnson's job as a leader is impossible with the current crop of Republicans in Congress.

Johnson had only been in Congress for six years before he took the spotlight in October 2023 as the replacement for ousted Speaker Kevin McCarthy. McCarthy was booted from his role following a "motion to vacate" filed by GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz for passing a continuing resolution to keep the government from shutting down.

Less than a year later, as now-speaker Johnson tried to keep the government functioning, he was hounded by several of his Republican colleagues who were also pushing him to shut the government down intentionally, this time in the name of border security.

Johnson was forced to rely on Democrats across the aisle to keep the government afloat and funded — but not without a cost.

As the House voted on the funding bill on March 22, GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene filed a motion to vacate Johnson as speaker, later telling a scrum of reporters it was time to "find a new speaker of the House that will stand with Republicans and our Republican majority."

She did not have any replacements in mind. And given how traumatizing finding a replacement for McCarthy was, Republican representatives don't seem too eager to go down that tumultuous road again any time soon.

There's a pattern at play here.

With such a narrow majority in the House, a handful of firebrand Republicans have repeatedly thrown wrenches into the gears of the Capitol to get what they want: From holding out on electing McCarthy as speaker in January 2023 until House rules were changed to their liking to threatening to prevent millions of government employees from receiving paychecks in a shutdown, the strategy has at times been successful.

But that's clearly not a fruitful work environment for Johnson, the man tasked with leading and fundraising for the increasingly dysfunctional House of Representatives.

Even if Johnson is removed and replaced, there's little incentive for Greene, Gaetz, or any other disruptive Republican representatives not to make his replacement miserable, just as they did their predecessors.

So what can Johnson and Republican leadership do at this point to fix this?

The short answer is: not much.

Joining leadership well after the House rules were established, it's difficult for him — or any other GOP speaker — to implement any changes until the next congressional session.

At this point, Johnson's best bet to keep the government functioning — and as he's done in the past few months — is to continue to rely on Democrats to get critical votes passed, which isn't the most politically advantageous move.

But when the alternative is millions of military personnel and federal workers going without pay before a politically charged election in November, it may be the only solution Johnson has.

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