Saturday, May 25, 2024

Mike Johnson Should Remain as Speaker, Republicans don’t have to Agree on Every Issue

The position of House Speaker is proving to be one of the most challenging positions to hold in Washington D.C. Former congressmen Kevin McCarthy lasted for just 269 days as Speaker, and some outspoken congressmen and women such as Marjorie Taylor Greene have already made motions to remove the current speaker, Mike Johnson. The Freedom caucus has enormous value to the Republican party, and members of this outspoken group such as Jim Jordan, Chip Roy, and Byron Donalds have been amongst the strongest supporters of President Trump and the MAGA movement. Still, replacing the Speaker every time a group or individual disagrees with a decision the leader of the House makes is not productive.

Mike Johnson himself said he opposed aid to Zelensky’s government before receiving recent intelligence briefings on the current state of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. He changed his mind. The left has constantly attacked the Democratic institutions and traditions of the US since President Trump was elected in 2016 with sham impeachments, absurd and baseless indictments, and even efforts in states such as Colorado to have the former President thrown off the ballot. Johnson brought the aid package to a vote and he allowed democracy to work.

The majority of Republicans approved aid to both Taiwan and Israel, a slight majority of the party opposed aid to Ukraine. Johnson took the issue to a vote and he allowed members to take a position on aid to each country as well as vote yes or no to the aid package as a whole. He let Congress vote, and that’s how democracy should work. While the Freedom Caucus strongly opposed further aid to Zelensky’s government, simply not holding votes on issues you disagree with when your party is divided on an issue is not the answer, this group needed to persuade more members of the House an Senate to oppose further support for Ukraine, and that did not happen.

Mike Johnson is a huge supporter of President Trump and the MAGA movement, and the congressman from Louisiana has stated that he’s all in for the former president in 2024. Johnson also has a 90 percent conservative voting record. Former President Trump himself has also come out and stated that he’s not opposed to further aid to Ukraine if there are specific loan conditions in the legislation, and those provisions were in the bill. While the loan provisions still enable the President to cancel half of the debt after November 15th, 2024, and the remaining amount after 2026, the current bill still structures a significant amount of the aid to Zelensky’s government as a loan, a section of the legislation Trump worked with Johnson to put in the bill.

The complaints by Greene and others that action on the border needs to occur before more foreign aid is approved is also a bad argument, because Trump and the Republicans have made clear, correctly, that there is no reason to pass a border security bill with Biden in office and the current impeached and disgraced DHS secretary Alejandro Mayorkas still in power. Johnson also likely coordinated his recent efforts with Trump, whom he met with just 2 weeks ago. Trump stated during that meeting that Johnson had his support.

The fact is that nearly half of the Republican party supported aid to Ukraine, and that Trump was fine with this aid package passing as well, shows Johnson did not do the bidding of the Democrats.

Marjorie Taylor Greene and members of the Freedom Caucus had many good reasons to strongly oppose further aid to Ukraine, but opposing legislation doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be a vote. Trump and Johnson have talked frequently over the last month, and the April 12th press conference between the two made clear that the former President and the Speaker are working in partnership on these key issues at this critical time.

While I don’t agree with Johnson and the former President on every issue, there is nothing wrong with bringing legislation to a vote, and letting democracy work.

The congressmen and women who opposed aid to Ukraine simply did not make a strong enough case in Congress and to the public, and the foreign aid bill passed. While Republicans should stand on principle and fight for what these members believe in, voting to remove the Speaker simply over a difference of opinion on policy when Johnson has done a good job overall of keeping his word to the MAGA movement is not the answer.