Despite being threatened with a motion to vacate from one of his fellow Republicans, House Speaker Mike Johnson said he’s “not concerned” about being removed from his position.
This week, Representative Chip Roy of Texas said that he wasn’t ruling out bringing the motion to vacate against Johnson over the spending deal that he struck with Democratic leaders in the Senate.
The motion to vacate is what Republican Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida used to have former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy ultimately removed from his post. Johnson was appointed as McCarthy’s successor after three other GOP members of the House failed in their bids for the gavel.
Asked at a press conference this week about whether he was afraid of losing his job like McCarthy did, Johnson replied:
“I’m not concerned about that, we’re leading. Chip Roy is one of my closest friends. We agree on almost everything in principle.
“What I’ve talked with him about is the reality of being in what is soon to be the smallest majority in the history of Congress, except for one exception, I think in 1970, according to my research.”
What Johnson was referring to is the fact that Republicans’ majority in the House is now just two votes after recent resignations and removals.
On Monday, Roy appeared on CNN and said there are “going to be some real conversations this week” about how the GOP should move forward with the deadline for funding the federal government fast approaching.
The CNN hosts pressed Roy, asking him whether he had considered bringing a motion to vacate against Johnson.
Roy replied that it’s “not the road I prefer … we’ll see what happens this week.”
Roy and some members of the far-right House Freedom Caucus are unhappy that the top-line spending agreement that Johnson struck with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer doesn’t include major cuts in spending like they want.
The Texas representative expressed his belief that the agreement uses “gimmicks” with the budget to increase federal spending above caps that first went into place during talks about the debt ceiling last year.
Roy has also been rumored to threaten that he would block all government funding unless President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats agreed to put in more border security measures into the budget.
After speaking with Roy directly following those comments, Johnson said he never meant to threaten to force a shutdown of the federal government.
At Wednesday’s press conference, Johnson said he has plans to “advance the ball” and “advance our conservative principles.”
As he explained:
“Look, leadership is tough. You take a lot of criticism, but I, remember, I am a hardline conservative. That’s what they used to call me. Chip and I agree on spending. We’ve got to dramatically reduce it, and I have a long record of a legislator of trying to cut spending.”
That being said, Johnson said he believes this new spending deal will restore “financial sanity” at the federal level, adding that the GOP could “turn this thing completely around” if the party were able to win the White House and Senate while retaining the majority in the House following the November elections.