Democrats to save Speaker Mike Johnson's job

House Democrats will vote to save Republican Speaker Mike Johnson's job should some of his fellow Republican lawmakers seek to remove him, Democratic leaders say.

The move means Johnson will likely avoid being ousted from office like his predecessor, Kevin McCarthy.

Johnson has come under heavy criticism from some Republicans for moving forward with aid for Ukraine as part of a $95 billion emergency spending package that passed this month.

It would take only a handful of Republicans to remove Johnson from the speakership if the Democratic caucus went along with the effort.

But Democratic leaders have taken that possibility off the table.

"At this moment, upon completion of our national security work, the time has come to turn the page on this chapter of Pro-Putin Republican obstruction," said a statement from the top three House Democrats, Hakeem Jeffries, Katherine Clark and Pete Aguilar.

"We will vote to table Marjorie Taylor Greene's Motion to Vacate the Chair. If she invokes the motion, it will not succeed."

The announcement from Democrats ensures that Johnson will survive the most difficult stretch of his tenure so far, which had him struggle through internal GOP divisions to pass government funding, the renewal of a key surveillance program and aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.

To do so, Johnson was often forced to rely on votes from Democrats, creating an unusual governing coalition that has angered hard-right members who say their majority is being squandered.

Greene filed a resolution with the House clerk last month that would remove Johnson from office if approved by the House.

Marjorie Taylor Greene
It's yet to be clear if Marjorie Taylor Greene will force a vote to oust House Speaker Mike Johnson (AP PHOTO)

While she did not force the resolution to be taken up immediately, Greene told reporters she was laying the groundwork for future consideration.

Johnson was quick to distance himself from Democrats on the issue, saying he had no conversations with Jeffries or anyone else about saving his job.

"I was laser-focused on getting the supplemental done," Johnson said, referring to the aid package.

"I've had colleagues from both parties come up to me on the floor, of course, and say we won't stand for this. ... I've not requested assistance from anyone. I'm not focused on that at all."

Many House Republicans are eager to move past the divisions that have tormented their ranks ever since taking the majority last January.

At a closed-door session Tuesday morning, much of the discussion focused on how to create unity in the party heading into the November elections..

The removal of McCarthy in October left the House adrift for nearly a month, unable to take up legislation as Republicans struggled to select a replacement. Republicans are anxious to avoid a repeat going into November.

Many Democrats, even before Tuesday's announcement, had said they would consider helping Johnson, but they were also looking for direction from their leadership and emphasised that in order for Johnson to gain their support, he would need to allow for the vote on an emergency aid package focused on Ukraine and Israel.

Democrats made clear that their approach would be to table Greene's motion, rather than take an affirmative vote for Johnson, particularly because of his role leading Trump's 2020 election challenge in the run-up to the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

Democrats were also wary of repeating the disorder that occurred during McCarthy's removal.