Oklahoma Delegation On Passage Of Another Continuing Resolution, Speaker Johnson's Job Security

In less than three months as speaker, Rep. Johnson (R-LA) has twice now been forced to work with Democrats and ignore the pleadings of the far right to keep the government open. Similar collaboration got Johnson’s predecessor, Kevin McCarthy, ousted, but most Oklahoma members felt Johnson did the right thing in making sure the government didn't shut down.

Friday, January 19th 2024, 5:40 pm



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One day after a bipartisan majority in Congress -- including a majority of the Oklahoma delegation -- voted to pass another short-term funding bill to avoid a government shutdown, there are questions as to Speaker Mike Johnson’s job security.

In less than three months as speaker, Rep. Johnson (R-LA) has twice now been forced to work with Democrats and ignore the pleadings of the far right to keep the government open. Similar collaboration got Johnson’s predecessor, Kevin McCarthy, ousted, but most Oklahoma members felt Johnson did the right thing in making sure the government didn't shut down.

"If the government shuts down, border patrol agents continue to work, but they don’t get paid," said Rep. Stephanie Bice (R-OK5) in a recent interview, "our military continues to work, but doesn’t get paid."

Rep. Bice, Rep. Tom Cole and Rep. Frank Lucas in the House, along with Senators James Lankford and Markwayne Mullin in the Senate, all voted in favor of the 6-week continuing resolution. Representatives Hern and Brecheen voted against it.

Brecheen says the CR keeps an unacceptable level of spending in place. He says he's disappointed in some of the Speaker's concessions to the left but says he hasn’t given up on him.

"He’s a friend, he's a friend to a lot of us," Rep. Brecheen (R-OK2) said in a recent interview. "Most of the conservatives could count Mike Johnson as a friend -- we know what’s in him; we just want to help bring it to the top."

Neither Brecheen nor Hern is suggesting another motion to vacate the speakership could be needed, but others in the conference’s far right-wing are.

"You can’t negotiate with crazy," Senator Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) said in an interview this week about those considering an attempt to oust Johnson.

Mullin is watching it all closely. Calling himself a friend of Johnson’s, he’s taken on the unofficial role of liaison between the House and Senate Republican conferences and is aware of threats by Marjorie Taylor Greene and also by Texas Congressman Chip Roy.

"I think it’ll blow up in [Roy's] face if he does it," said Mullin, "but it wouldn’t surprise me if somebody did it, and it would be at no fault of Mike. Mike’s doing the best thing he can do."

Congressman Cole agrees that Johnson is doing a good job -- the best he could under the circumstances -- and said this about the idea of removing him: "If you kill the king once, then you might say the king is a tyrant. But if you do it twice, maybe you’re an assassin."

Cole says going through that process again of electing a new speaker would not only make it virtually impossible for the House, and really Congress as a whole, to accomplish anything meaningful this year, but it would be very damaging to Republican hopes of holding onto the House majority in the November election.

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