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Speaker Mike Johnson is not resigning

Mike Johnson: I’m not resigning

Speaker Mike Johnson took the extraordinary step this morning of publicly announcing that he was “not resigning” after a second conservative GOP hardliner called for his ouster in a closed House Republican Conference meeting.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) stood up in the private meeting in the Capitol and said Johnson should “clean the barn” — clear out all pending controversial legislation — and announce he’s resigning so House Republicans can choose a new speaker.

Massie also said he would support Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (R-Ga.) motion to vacate resolution, which the Georgia Republican introduced several weeks ago. Greene has not sought to make it privileged, which would trigger a vote over whether to oust Johnson. This was the same process used to dump former Speaker Kevin McCarthy last year.

The current wave of angst is due to Johnson’s introduction of a package of bills to send aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. House Republicans will need Democratic support to pass the rule in committee and on the floor. And the GOP will need the minority’s support to clear the package.

“We have a rudder,” Massie told reporters following the Republican meeting. ”We’re steering everything toward what Chuck Schumer wants.”

A vote on the aid package is expected by Friday at the earliest, GOP sources say.

Johnson, speaking at a House Republican leadership news conference, said it is “absurd” to try to throw him out of the office right now. Here’s Johnson:

Johnson reiterated again as he did Monday that he wasn’t worried about an MTV.

But let’s be clear — It’s not great when a speaker has to go out and publicly declare that he’s not resigning just 174 days into his tenure.

House Democrats are watching the developments inside the GOP conference very closely. They’re concerned not only with Johnson’s fate but what impact it will have on the foreign aid bill, as well as whether they’ll have to intervene in any Republican attempt to oust another speaker.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and other top Democrats have signaled they’re willing to support a rule for the foreign aid package and help pass the bill as long as there aren’t any poison-pill provisions attached to the measure.

But a vote to help Johnson stave off a motion to vacate before the foreign aid package comes up is another matter, Democratic insiders said. Johnson would have to definitively state what the package will look like — and how many GOP votes he can deliver for it — before Democratic leaders are going to cut any members loose on the MTV. Timing is everything here, as always.

– Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan

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