With an end-of-the-week deadline to prevent a government shutdown, House Speaker Mike Johnson finds himself in an unenviable, if familiar spot: right where Kevin McCarthy was days before his ouster.
Johnson, like McCarthy, has proposed sending through a “clean” continuing resolution — one devoid of the sharp spending cuts Republican hardliners have pushed for. The decision proved fatal for McCarthy, who was promptly sent packing from his office by eight members of the party’s right flank, who, in conjunction with House Democrats, voted for the first time in history to remove the body’s leader.
Johnson now finds himself in a similarly precarious position. But some in the House are convinced the Louisiana Republican won’t suffer the same fate.
“I mean, they have put someone in who they think appeals to the common denominator within the caucus, which is a kind of theocratic agenda,” Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) said Sunday on MSNBC’s “Inside with Jen Psaki.”
“And some of them are saying — well, he’s like the backup quarterback who comes in in the fourth quarter, so don’t blame him for everything that’s happened, give him a break here and go with what he wants.”
Though Johnson’s proposed CR, which extends funding at current levels but tees up two different funding deadlines for different parts of the government, seems “strange,” Raskin said, “if it’s something that our leadership thinks they can work with, it’s something that I imagine most Democrats will say they’ll swallow for now.”
McCarthy similarly said he expects Johnson to be able to weather the storm.
“Look, you get a honeymoon. And they can’t go through it again. I mean, think about how long it took last time,” he said of House Republicans’ messy attempt to replace him as Speaker — a dramatic process that left the body without an elected leader for weeks.
“I don’t think anyone could make a motion to vacate for the rest of the term,” McCarthy told CNN’s Manu Raju in an interview that aired Sunday.
“What gives you that confidence?” Raju asked.
“Who are you going to replace him with?” McCarthy replied.