Johnson Says He Won’t Change Motion to Vacate Rule After Republican Pushback

Joseph Lord
By Joseph Lord
April 18, 2024Congress
Johnson Says He Won’t Change Motion to Vacate Rule After Republican Pushback
Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-La.) presides over the House of Representatives prior to an address by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on April 11, 2024. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) said on April 18 that he has no plans to make changes to the rules governing a motion to vacate after early reports led to harsh Republican pushback.

In his comments, Mr. Johnson was openly critical of the motion to vacate but announced that he wouldn’t be pursuing a rule change.

“Since the beginning of the 118th Congress, the House rule allowing a Motion to Vacate from a single member has harmed this office and our House majority,” Mr. Johnson said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

“Recently, many members have encouraged me to endorse a new rule to raise this threshold. While I understand the importance of that idea, any rule change requires a majority of the full House, which we do not have.”

He said that the House “will continue to govern under the existing rules.”

The comments come in response to reports from the morning of April 18 that Mr. Johnson was considering a change to the rules as part of ongoing legislation to provide foreign aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan.

Those reports infuriated several Republicans—most prominently Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who filed a still-unactivated motion to vacate against Mr. Johnson after he worked with Democrats to pass a $1.2 trillion government funding bill.

“Kevin McCarthy, while he was staring down the barrel of a loaded gun, he never made a move like this behind closed doors to make deals with Democrats to change the motion to vacate,” Ms. Greene told reporters.

According to reports, other Republicans were ready to vacate the speaker’s chair immediately if Mr. Johnson attempted to change the rules.

Still other reports, confirmed by a person familiar with the proceedings, claimed that Mr. Johnson was considering a move to remove House Freedom Caucus members, including Reps. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), Chip Roy (R-Texas), and Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) from the House Rules Committee in order to pass a controversial $61 billion Ukraine aid package out of committee.

That comes after several members of the House Freedom Caucus have threatened to oppose the rule governing Ukraine aid, which would effectively block it unless Democrats helped it across the finish line.

Rep. Derek Van Orden (R-Wis.) said the tactics undertaken by the House Freedom Caucus amounted to bullying.

“Matt Gaetz is a bully,” he said. “Chip Roy is a bully.”

“The people, the obstructionists, the minority of the minority of the Republican Party, better pay attention because we’re over it. We are done. We came here to govern; we came here to legislate,” Mr. Van Orden said.

From The Epoch Times

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