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House Dems ‘very open’ to saving Johnson speakership from GOP rebels

House Democrats are signaling that they are open to making a deal to help House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., keep his job if Republican rebels file a motion to oust him from leadership.

Several Democrats who spoke with Fox News Digital said they think their colleagues would insulate the Louisiana Republican if he put legislation on foreign aid on the House floor for a vote – specifically singling out Ukraine and Israel – though they all maintained that they would follow the lead of House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., and other Democratic leaders.

Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, told reporters, ‘I think it’s unlikely I would support vacating him. We’ll see.’

‘The big thing is, I want a vote on Ukraine. More to the point, I want Ukraine to get the aid. We waited months longer than we should have for highly questionable reasons. Now we’re down to the last minute, Ukraine’s hanging on by their fingernails,’ Smith said.

Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., became the second GOP lawmaker after Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., to threaten to file a motion to vacate against Johnson, which would trigger a vote on his ouster. Massie told Johnson in a closed-door Tuesday House GOP meeting that Johnson should step aside after a vote happens on his recently announced foreign aid plan or face the threat of losing his gavel.

Democrats do not necessarily have to vote against ousting Johnson. Any vote on vacating him would likely be preceded by a vote to table the motion, which would effectively kill it. Likewise, simply not showing up to vote on a motion to vacate would make the margins more favorable for Johnson.

The Louisiana Republican is leader of a razor-thin House GOP majority of just two seats. While that means that just a small amount of dissent can cost him the job, it also means he would likely only need a few Democrats to help him keep it.

‘I think Democrats are very open to a deal, but that has to come from Republicans,’ Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., said on Tuesday.

When asked if Johnson would have to reach out to Democrats to initiate that deal, Moulton said, ‘Of course, he’s the Speaker of the House. It’s his f—ing job.’

Moulton, however, said passing aid to Ukraine would not be enough in exchange for the Democrats’ help. ‘The bar’s been pathetically low for the Republican Party for a long time. But no, in my personal opinion, simply doing his job and allowing a democratic vote on legislation is not enough for a deal,’ he said, though he did not elaborate on what a deal should entail.

Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., told Fox News Digital that Jeffries signaled there is a way forward for Johnson to make a deal with Democrats. 

‘Hakeem Jeffries has made that clear a number of times. You know, I’ve said same thing – I hate the idea of punishing Mike Johnson for doing the right thing,’ Beyer, a progressive, told Fox News Digital in regard to a foreign aid plan. ‘The one I think most of us care the most about is Ukraine aid, and then secondarily, some kind of Israel-Gaza package.’

Beyer would not say if Johnson’s proposal on foreign aid would be enough for Democrats to help him, given the lack of legislative text, but he did not rule it out, either. Meanwhile, Johnson has faced bipartisan pressure to take up the Senate’s $95 billion supplemental aid package for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and Gaza.

‘Hopefully he’s found a way to manage his disruptive caucus by breaking it into pieces…without having to put the whole Senate bill on the floor, which is apparently not a winning strategy from his perspective,’ Beyer said.

Rep. Jared Moskowitz, D-Fla., said he would consider voting to table a motion to oust Johnson if he put foreign aid up for a vote – if only not to empower the right wing of the Republican conference.

‘At the end of the day, if my job is to make sure that we can continue the world order, and that my job is to make sure that we get our allies the aid that they need so that our allies don’t look at the U.S. as a non-functioning body anymore, and turn to China and turn to Russia, if the idea is voting for a motion to table or letting [Massie and Greene] take this all down, yeah, I would vote for motion to table,’ Moskowitz said.

However, Republicans were skeptical about that being a permanent safety net.

‘I don’t think that works,’ Massie told reporters on Tuesday. ‘I think for every Democrat that comes to save him he’ll lose at least two or three more in our conference, and that makes it toxic.’

Another GOP lawmaker who spoke with Fox News Digital suggested Johnson would lose control of the House GOP conference if Democrats saved him during a vacate vote.

‘I think it’s a different conference then,’ the GOP lawmaker said. ‘If I’m the Democrats and I get asked to do that, the quid pro quo on that would make it enormously difficult to lead the conference. I mean, he’s really gonna be the leader of the uniparty then.’ 

Fox News Digital reached out to Johnson and Jeffries’ offices for comment.

This post appeared first on FOX NEWS
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