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Speaker Mike Johnson faces an impeachment vote in a pivotal week

Reuters/Getty Images

Pictured are House Speaker Mike Johnson, left, and Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, right.


Washington
CNN

House Speaker Mike Johnson is expected to face a vote on his impeachment in the coming days, a pivotal moment that poses a major leadership test for the Louisiana Republican even as he is expected to prevail.

Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives have said Democrats will vote to thwart efforts led by Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, effectively keeping Johnson from losing his job.

A failed vote will give Johnson the chance to argue that it is time to move forward on the issue. But support from Democrats will expose Johnson to even more criticism from his right flank.

It’s not yet clear how many Republicans will vote against Johnson — the higher the number, the bigger the blow could be to the speaker’s standing within the House GOP conference.

Greene has said she will force a vote in the coming days, escalating pressure on Johnson and setting off a major showdown in the House of Representatives. Even if the vote fails as expected, it still risks widening divisions among Republicans in the House of Representatives, who control a razor-thin majority.

Many Republicans oppose the push to oust Johnson and do not want the conference to devolve into a bitter power struggle, as was the case after former Speaker Kevin McCarthy was ousted in a historic and unprecedented vote last year.

However, Greene and other hardline conservatives have been highly critical of Johnson’s speakership. Conservative anger against Johnson increased after he pushed to pass a major foreign aid package last month that included aid to Ukraine.

Johnson has defended his leadership against the threat, saying he will not resign and warning that a vote to impeach him could cause chaos in the House of Representatives.

“This motion is wrong for the Republican Conference, wrong for the institution and wrong for the country,” the speaker said in a statement after Greene announced she would move forward with a vote.

Two other Republicans publicly support Greene’s motion to resign: Republican Reps. Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Paul Gosar of Arizona.

“I believe in registered votes. That’s our job – it’s our job to vote,” Greene said at a news conference where she announced she would call for a vote.

“If this vote fails,” the congressman said, “that’s a list of names – and the voters and the American people … they deserve that list.”

Greene has been threatening an impeachment vote for weeks. She originally filed the motion to impeach Johnson in March, amid conservative anger over his handling of the fight over public funding.

The congressman also did not rule out the possibility of forcing repeat votes in the future after the upcoming vote.

“I haven’t made a decision about that yet,” she said at the press conference.

A floor vote to impeach Johnson would require a majority to pass, but a motion to table – or quash – the resolution is expected to be offered and voted on first.

House leaders plan to quickly adopt and kill Greene’s motion, according to GOP sources. Depending on the turnout, they could vote the same day she offered it.

In the wake of Johnson’s attempt to pass the foreign aid package over the objections of hardline conservatives, House Democratic leaders announced that Democrats would help Johnson keep his job by voting in favor if the issue occurred.

But House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries last week declined to promise that Democrats would save Johnson from multiple attempts to impeach him if conservatives repeatedly pull votes in the future.

Jeffries said the Democratic caucus will “work step by step.”