As Shutdown Looms, House Speaker Struggles With Far Right 'Friends'

Mike Johnson

Speaker Mike Johnson

Once again, as of late Friday morning, Speaker of the House Mike Johnson is claiming he has a spending deal he can pass to avert a shutdown of the federal government that could occur in seven days. Johnson had made the same statement over the weekend. A lot has happened in between.

Portions of the federal government will shut down if that deal or a continuing resolution (CR) are not passed and signed into law by the end of next Friday.

Speaker Johnson and Majority Leader Schumer last weekend announced they had reached a deal, which largely mirrors the deal then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Biden had agreed to.

But a handful of far-right Republicans, most in the House Freedom Caucus, this week began attacking the deal, insisting that large cuts to the federal budget must be made. And if not, they began suggesting, perhaps Speaker Johnson should suffer the same fate as Speaker Johnson: a “motion to vacate the chair,” removing him as Speaker.

Far-right members of Congress including Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) have been expressing outrage over federal government spending, and dangling the “MTV –” the “motion to vacate” suggestion.

Freedom Caucus chairman, Rep. Bob Good (R-VA), and a dozen or so of his fellow far-right House Republicans on Wednesday scuttled a vote, telling reporters the funding deal Johnson and Schumer had reached is “unacceptable,” The New York Times reported,

On Wednesday, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene complained about the “chaos” members of the House Freedom Caucus – which booted her last year – were causing by complaining about the deal.

But just one day later, in an interview with far-right provocateur Steve Bannon, Rep. Greene changed her tune, denouncing the deal.

“If I’m Speaker of the House,” Rep. Greene told Bannon, “I finish the job in the House. I pass the appropriation bills, and then I tell Chuck Schumer in the Senate, it’s your job now, buddy.”

“But right now,” Greene continued, “Mike Johnson is getting rolled in meeting after meeting after meeting. Every day Mike Johnson gets closer and closer to this deal brings me closer and closer to vacating the chair because I have absolutely had it.”

Here’s how Punchbowl News co-founder Jake Sherman at 8:55 AM Friday summed up where House Republicans are: “One week until the government partially shuts down,” and the “house will be gone by 10:45 this morning.”

The “senate left yesterday – not a single bill conferenced,” and Speaker Johnson “hasn’t publicly said whether he’s for a CR [continuing resolution to keep the government running].

He adds, “as of yesterday, Johnson had members in his office urging him to walk away from a four-day old spending agreement. Remember how appropriations was going to work again? This is as bad as it’s been. If not worse. two deadlines in two months.”

Sherman also notes, “all the hardliners meeting with him say they don’t believe Johnson has agreed to a budget deal. (He did).”

The first possible government shutdown of the year is January 19. The second is February 2.

Johnson has been meeting one-on-one and with groups of his Republican caucus. Sherman has been detailing those meetings:

9:24 AM: “JOHNSON is meeting with MTG [Marjorie Taylor Greene] in the speakers ceremonial office off the house floor MTG said yesterday that she would not support the budget agreement and the government should be running at its bare-bone minimum.”

9:34 AM: “JUST NOW — MTG upon leaving a meeting w @SpeakerJohnson: ‘I don’t think there’s a solid budget agreement yet.’ Johnson announced a budget agreement with Schumer Sunday.”

10:54 AM: “JOHNSON is huddling with HFC [House Freedom Caucus] members on the floor. He’s getting chewed out, per a source.”

11:07 AM: “JOHNSON, after getting chewed out on House floor by HFC, says: ‘Our top line agreement remains.'”

See the photo and video above or at this link.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

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