In the ongoing struggle between Republicans and Democrats for control in the House, Democrats are increasingly becoming the driving force behind crucial legislative measures. Speaker Mike Johnson’s recent success in passing a stopgap spending bill marked the fourth time in a year that a Republican speaker turned to Democrats to secure votes.
Johnson, facing challenges from his own party’s right flank and with a slim majority, finds himself presiding over a House majority in name only, limiting his influence. The tenuous nature of his hold on the majority was evident in the last-minute scramble to gather support for the spending bill, with one Republican lawmaker switching votes at the eleventh hour.
Majority in name only?
This reliance on a coalition between Republicans and Democrats echoes a tactic previously employed by ousted Speaker Kevin McCarthy. For Johnson, it’s the second instance where he followed McCarthy to avert a government shutdown, frustrating hard-right Republicans who had hoped for a more conservative approach.
Despite criticism, Johnson, a self-described conservative, emphasizes the challenging reality of governing with the second-smallest majority in history. While facing opposition from ultraconservative factions within his party, Johnson aims to stick to core conservative principles and views recent moves as a “down payment on real reform.”
Republicans and Democrats
Hard-liners, who deposed McCarthy, expressed a level of trust in Johnson’s leadership, citing his transparency and conservative background. However, ultraconservatives warn that Johnson’s inherited challenges demand collective responsibility and support.
Meanwhile, Democrats seize the opportunity to highlight their bipartisan cooperation in salvaging crucial bills. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer emphasizes the need for bipartisan legislation, and Democratic leaders underscore their role in maintaining government functionality amidst Republican chaos.
Johnson acknowledges the difficulties ahead but remains determined to advance conservative principles. The dynamic sets the stage for an ongoing struggle in a House majority that appears more symbolic than governing.
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