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Zinke, Rosendale vote to keep House Speaker Johnson in office

by KATE HESTON
Daily Inter Lake | May 10, 2024 12:00 AM

Montana Republican Reps. Ryan Zinke and Matt Rosendale voted Wednesday to prevent the ouster of House Speaker Mike Johnson.

The two were among 196 Republicans and 163 Democrats who united to block Rep. Majorie Taylor Greene’s, R-Ga., effort to remove Johnson, a Louisiana Republican, from the speakership. The House voted 359 to 43 to table Greene’s proposal. 

Seven members voted present and 11 were absent. 

After weeks spent threatening to orchestrate Johnson’s removal, Greene triggered a vote on his ouster May 8. She filed a motion to vacate in March after the House passed a $1.2 trillion spending package to keep the government funded in a bipartisan vote. 

Greene criticized Johnson’s leadership, calling it “pathetic, weak and unacceptable,” while on the House floor late Wednesday. 

Johnson’s transgressions, along with working with Democrats to prevent a government shutdown, include passing a $95 billion national security package with aid for war torn Ukraine, she said. 

Greene, a top ally of former President Donald Trump and a known conservative voice in the House, presented Johnson with four demands, including halting funding for Ukraine and an end to the Justice Department’s legal cases against Trump, according to the Associated Press. 

When Johnson refused to capitulate, she triggered the motion to vacate on Wednesday, kicking off a 48-hour process where the House can remove the speaker. In a procedural vote organized by Republican Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the House overwhelmingly voted to table Greene’s effort. 

Had the House opted against tabling the motion, a vote on whether to vacate Johnson would have been brought to the House floor. Johnson took over the speakership in October 2023 after the House voted to oust former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. 

McCarthy resigned two months after his ouster. His removal marked the first time that the House had formally ousted its speaker in its history.

With Wednesday’s vote Johnson remains the leader of a party with a narrow majority in the House and faces demands from both sides. He is also likely to face criticism for relying on Democrats to retain the speakership. 

During the effort to strip McCarthy from the role, 208 Democrats sided with eight Republicans to remove him. Johnson saw 11 members of his party vote with Greene on Wednesday. 

“As I’ve said from the beginning, and I’ve made clear here every day, I intend to do my job,” Johnson said after the vote. “And I’ll let the chips fall where they may. In my view, that is leadership.”

Reporter Kate Heston can be reached at kheston@dailyinterlake.com or 758-4459.