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Some Democrats say they’re open to rescuing Speaker Johnson from ouster

Several House Democrats on Friday said they would be willing to help rescue Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (R-Ga.) motion to oust him — though some said their vote would be contingent on how he handles Ukraine aid.

Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.) told CNN on Friday he would vote to keep Johnson as Speaker.

“It’s absurd he’s being kicked out for doing the right thing, keeping the government open. It has two-thirds support of the Congress, and the idea that he would be kicked out by these jokers is absurd,” he said.

Asked if he thought other Democrats would follow suit, Suozzi responded, “I hope so.”

Greene filed the motion to vacate the Speaker’s chair — the same mechanism that was used to remove former Speaker Kevin McCarty (R-Calif.) last fall — to protest the $1.2 trillion package to keep the government open the House passed on Friday.

Already though, there’s less enthusiasm for the possibility of removing the Speaker’s gavel. McCarthy’s ouster resulted in three weeks of chaos and a paralyzed lower chamber. Even many members of the hard-line conservative House Freedom Caucus, who are furious with Johnson for his handling of the spending bill, have brushed off the idea.

And Democrats, who voted in lockstep to oust McCarthy — and then in lockstep against every subsequent GOP Speaker nominee — appear more open to the idea of helping Johnson remain in his post.

“I do not support Speaker Johnson, but I will never stand by and let MTG to take over the people’s House,” Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-Fla.) wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Even some liberals, who oppose Johnson on virtually every major policy issue, appear open to the idea of rescuing his Speakership — if he’s willing to consider the foreign-aid package passed by the Senate last month.

“I’d want to see his good-faith action before that happened,” said Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.).

Huffman noted that Democrats would not be voting directly on the binary choice between choosing a Speaker Johnson or a Speaker Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), but might opt to support a procedural tool, known as a motion to table, to prevent Greene’s vacate resolution from getting a vote, “which is easier” for Democrats to support politically, he said.

To be sure, Democrats would likely look to Jeffries, the party’s leader in the House, for guidance. He has not said which way he would lean.

But even before Greene made her motion, Democrats were floating the idea of helping Johnson, though most also based it on his handling of Ukraine aid.

Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, told The Hill last month that he thought Democrats would rescue Johnson from a revolt over Ukraine aid.

“If we get a vote on the appropriations bills and we get a vote on the supplemental, there’ll be enough Democrats that Johnson will not be removed as Speaker,” Smith said. “That’s just my view.”

And several others said in January that they would be willing to step in — if Johnson committed to working with Democrats.

Mike Lillis contributed.

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