Conservatives Protest Vote and Pressure Johnson
Less than halfway through the first month of 2024, tensions have already erupted in the House of Representatives. A group of 12 conservatives staged a protest vote on Wednesday, derailing a normally routine procedural measure. Their aim was to send a pointed message to House Speaker Johnson regarding the budget deal he made with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
The group of GOP hardliners has been pressuring Johnson to backtrack on the agreement, a move that has left both moderate Republicans and rank-and-file conservatives angered. Representative Greg Murphy (R-NC) expressed his frustration, stating, “If all you’re here to do is rant and rave and scream, why’d you come? I don’t scream if I’m in the operating room and don’t have the right equipment, I make it work.”
Divisions on Johnson’s Decision
One of the 12 conservatives who lodged the protest vote, Representative Ralph Norman (R-SC), revealed that Johnson was considering dropping the Schumer deal. He stated, “[We’re] working on alternate plans, and Johnson listened to all sides. He did not commit, but he knows the crisis is border security, that has to be addressed.”
Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), another member of the protesting group, indicated that there is still no budget agreement. However, Johnson himself later insisted that the bipartisan deal remains intact. He said, “Our topline agreement remains. We are getting our next steps together, and we are working towards a robust appropriations process.”
Pressure Mounts on Johnson
While Johnson faces backlash from the Freedom Caucus, rank-and-file members are urging him to stand firm against the pressure. Representative Jen Kiggans (R-VA), representing a military-heavy district, expressed concerns about the potential further cuts pushed by the hardliners. She emphasized the frustration of constituents who elected a Republican majority to get things done.
Representative Juan Ciscomani (R-AZ) advised Johnson to stick to what he believes is right. He acknowledged the challenge of negotiating with a Democrat Senate and an out-of-touch White House, but highlighted the slightly higher savings achieved in the current deal.
Demands for Decisiveness
Representative Max Miller (R-OH) called on Johnson to make more decisive moves. He pointed out that the issue originated in early October when eight House Republicans voted to oust former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). Miller urged Johnson to make a clear decision and emphasized, “That’s what a leader does, right?”
Miller also criticized those who claim to care about the national debt but have not achieved significant reductions through cutting discretionary spending. He emphasized the need for action rather than empty promises to the American people.