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Mike Johnson loses another aide

Another high-ranking Mike Johnson aide eyes the exit

Will the last one left please turn out the lights?

The fourth member of Speaker Mike Johnson’s senior staff is leaving the Capitol, another noteworthy departure from the Louisiana Republican’s office in the months leading up to an election.

Raj Shah, Johnson’s deputy chief of staff, is likely to leave the speaker’s office in the coming weeks. Shah has told the speaker and Johnson’s top aides of his plans.

Shah has discussed his departure with multiple people inside and outside Johnson’s operation. The news has been bouncing around the House Republican leadership.

In fact, we were going to bring this scoop to you in Punchbowl News’ Midday edition Tuesday, but held off at Shah’s request. News leaked out following our request for comment. Axios reported Shah’s departure late Tuesday night.

Shah isn’t the only staffer heading for the exits in Johnson’s operation. We scooped in the Tuesday AM edition that Brittan Specht, Preston Hill and Jason Yaworske — three of Johnson’s top policy staffers — were leaving by the end of the month. Johnson, in a statement, said that the trio, who all worked for former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, had committed to helping for just six months. Shah made the same commitment to Johnson. So, in essence, Johnson had a huge chunk of his senior staff slated to leave six months into his speakership.

Johnson said he appreciated Shah’s service, adding “Raj has fulfilled his commitment to us and I wish him continued success.”

Here’s Shah: “It’s an honor to serve Speaker Johnson, especially through such an historic time. He has shown tremendous leadership navigating the conference through difficult issues.”

This role was a Capitol Hill debut for Shah. He previously worked at the RNC for Chair Reince Priebus. And later, he was the White House deputy press secretary under former President Donald Trump when Priebus was chief of staff. Shah also worked at the Fox Corporation after leaving the White House.

We’ll be watching very closely who Johnson eyes for both the policy roles and the comms job. There are just seven months until the end of this Congress, and Johnson’s future as the top House Republican is far from certain.

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With the Trump tax cuts expiring next year, reconciliation will be a major issue for Republicans provided they’re in control of Congress and the White House.

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