Speaker Mike Johnson retains position amid impeachment efforts

By Esther Muhozi
On 9 May 2024 at 12:40

In a decisive turn of events in the U.S. House of Representatives, Speaker Mike Johnson will remain in his position following a swift rejection of a motion to impeach him. The move to oust Johnson ended in a dramatic showdown on Wednesday evening, with the House voting overwhelmingly to kill the motion after less than an hour of debate.

The impeachment initiative was led by GOP Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, who accused Johnson, a fellow Republican, of aligning too closely with Democratic interests under President Joe Biden’s administration. Greene, in recent weeks, had been vocal about her discontent with Johnson’s leadership, culminating in the motion to vacate after threatening his removal for several weeks.

A "motion to vacate" is a procedural resolution that declares the speakership vacant, aiming to remove the sitting speaker. This procedure was rarely used until it became notably applied during former Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s removal in October.

During the proceedings, Greene criticized Johnson for his actions, including his role in the dismissal of Republican George Santos, who was replaced by a Democrat in a special election in December 2023. She also slammed Johnson for supporting a $61 billion aid package for Ukraine, Israel, and Pakistan, which she claimed compromised national security by adhering to a Democratic agenda.

"Johnson had to choose between Republican priorities and collaboration with Democrats to protect his power, and he chose the latter," Greene argued.

However, the House leadership countered by proposing a vote to keep Johnson in office. The vote passed with significant support, tallying 359 votes in favor, including 196 Republicans and 163 Democrats.

Despite the intense debate and the charges laid against him, only 43 members voted in favor of removing Johnson, among them 11 Republicans and 32 Democrats.

The quick resolution of this political drama underscores the complexities within party lines and the challenges of bipartisan cooperation in U.S. governance. Johnson’s retention marks a significant moment of unity within a frequently divided House, illustrating the intricate balance of power and the strategic maneuvers often necessary in legislative leadership.