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The GOP continues adrift in the House: Congressman Mike Gallagher announces his resignation and Taylor Greene files an impeachment motion against Johnson

The Georgia representative said her move was a “warning” to the speaker after lawmakers voted to prevent a government shutdown.

La deriva del GOP en la Cámara continúa: el congresista Mike Gallagher anuncia su renuncia y Taylor Greene presentó una moción de destitución contra Johnson

Los congresistas Mike Gallagher y

It was a chaotic day for Republicans in the House of Representatives in general and for Speaker Mike Johnson in particular.

After lawmakers approved a $1.2 trillion spending package to avoid a government shutdown in extremis, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) went to the press to publicly threaten Johnson with a vote of no confidence that, in her own words, is “more of a warning than a pink slip,” since she has not yet submitted the procedure to a vote.

In addition, an ally of Johnson, who held two chairman positions on House committees, announced his early resignation in April, leaving the Republican with a razor-thin majority in the chamber.

Greene: “It’s time to select a new Speaker of the House.”

Greene told reporters that she did not present the no-confidence motion because she did not want to “throw the House into chaos,” as happened when a motion by Republican Matt Gaetz removed former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. On that occasion, the House was left without a speaker for three and a half weeks.

However, Greene did not deny that she could put the motion to a vote after the House’s two-week recess, making it clear that a part of the most conservative wing of the Republican Party already has Johnson in its crosshairs: “I’m not saying that it won’t happen in two weeks or it won’t happen in a month or who knows when. But I am saying the clock has started. It’s time for our conference to choose a new speaker.”

Johnson, who has been in office for just five months, has juggled working alongside the moderate and conservative factions of the Republican Party, which appear increasingly distant as the election campaign progresses.

However, beyond Greene’s threats to the press, Johnson has two small respites. The first is that the House will go on recess for two weeks, enough time to calm the waters and avoid an impeachment procedure. The second is that Gaetz, who promoted McCarthy’s removal, said publicly that he was not in favor of Johnson’s removal because that would imply taking a considerable risk for the Republican Party: that a Democrat becomes Speaker of the House.

“If we vacated this speaker, we’d end up with a Democrat,” Gaetz told reporters. “When I vacated the last one, I made a promise to the country that we would not end up with the Democrat speaker. And I was right. I couldn’t make that promise again.”

When reporters asked how a Democrat could become speaker with a Republican majority, Gaetz said: “We’d have Republicans cross over. I worry that we’ve got Republicans who would vote for Hakeem Jeffries at this point. I really do. I take no joy in saying that. But you can only vacate the speaker if you know that the party leadership won’t change hands. I knew that with certainty last time. I don’t know it with certainty this time.”

The Florida representative’s statements indicate that none of the Republican factions in the House trust each other. And Johnson is stuck in the middle, being politically exposed with each controversial vote that generates some bipartisan support among Democrats and moderate Republicans.

Mike Gallagher abandons ship

As if that were not enough for Johnson, one of his colleagues and allies in the House, Representative Mike Gallagher (R-WI), announced that he will leave his seat on April 19, which means that the chair will remain empty until the next elections.

Gallagher did not give a specific reason for resigning but did say in a statement that he decided after talking with his family.

Without further explanation, Gallagher now leaves Republicans with an extremely narrow majority of 218 votes to 213. However, Republican Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado also said he will leave Congress after this week. Therefore, in a matter of days, the Republicans will have a majority of just 217-213.

That means Republicans will only be able to lose one vote with full attendance in order to pass any legislation: a bleak panorama amid various internal disputes and a Democratic Party that is closing the gap in the House.

Gallagher’s resignation is shocking because he is the chairman of the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, and he highlighted in his announcement the search for a new chairman once he steps down.

“I’ve worked closely with House Republican leadership on this timeline and look forward to seeing Speaker Johnson appoint a new chair to carry out the important mission of the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party,” Gallagher said.

It is extraordinary that a senior member of an important House committee leaves his seat mid-term. But Gallagher still decided to go, and on a date that critics say is no coincidence.

Under Wisconsin election law, if Gallagher were to leave today or before the second Tuesday in April, he could quickly hold a special election to fill his void in Congress. However, if he resigns according to the proposed schedule, his seat will remain empty until the next elections.

Despite the difficult situation, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise downplayed Gallagher’s departure.

“It is tough with a five-seat majority, it is tough with a two-seat, one will be the same,” Scalise told CNN. “We all have to work together.”

But the reality is inescapable: the Republican drift in the House is increasing.

Many voters can not forgive, for example, the vote triggered in the impeachment of former Congressman George Santos, who announced today that he will leave the Republican Party and run as an independent in November for New York’s First District seat.

“After today’s embarrassing showing in the house I have reflected and decided that I can no longer be part of the Republican Party...,” Santos said. “The Republican Party continues to lie and swindle its voter base. I in good conscience cannot affiliate myself with a party that stands for nothing and falls for everything.”

“I will take my Ultra MAGA/Trump supporting values to the ballot in November as an Independent,” stated the former Republican representative.

The GOP already had its work cut out for it in keeping the seat in the first district of New York red. However, with Santos as an independent, the mission has become significantly more complex for Republican incumbent Nick Lalota, who won in 2022 by a 9-point margin above Democrat Bridget Fleming.

If Santos manages to split the votes, the Democrats will have a clear opportunity to change the color of this seat.