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House Democrats announce they would save Speaker Mike Johnson if Marjorie Taylor Greene triggers her effort to oust him

<i>Nathan Howard/Getty Images via CNN Newsource</i><br/>House Speaker Mike Johnson speaks with members of the media following passage of a series of foreign aide bills at the US Capitol in Washington
Nathan Howard/Getty Images via CNN Newsource
House Speaker Mike Johnson speaks with members of the media following passage of a series of foreign aide bills at the US Capitol in Washington

By Haley Talbot, CNN

House Democratic leadership announced Tuesday that Democrats would kill an effort to oust House Speaker Mike Johnson from his position, amid threats from Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and other hardliners.

“At this moment, upon completion of our national security work, the time has come to turn the page on this chapter of Pro-Putin Republican obstruction. We will vote to table Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Motion to Vacate the Chair. If she invokes the motion, it will not succeed,” the leaders wrote in a statement.

Greene suggested she will move forward with the motion to vacate Johnson in order to put members on the record.

“If the Democrats want to elect him Speaker (and some Republicans want to support the Democrats’ chosen Speaker), I’ll give them the chance to do it. I’m a big believer in recorded votes because putting Congress on record allows every American to see the truth and provides transparency to our votes,” she posted Tuesday. “Americans deserve to see the Uniparty on full display. I’m about to give them their coming out party!”

Johnson defended the fact that he needs Democratic support to remain in his job and that he did not request assistance from the other side of the aisle at a news conference shortly after Democrats’ announcement.

“I have to do my job,” Johnson told reporters. “We have to do what we believe to be the right thing, what the country needs right now is a functioning Congress.”

When pressed by CNN’s Manu Raju on if he would be comfortable relying on Democratic support to keep the gavel, he said, “You hope you have the support of everyone, the entire country.”

Johnson said he did not request the assistance of Democrats as he hangs on to the speakership.

“I’ve not requested assistance from anyone,” he said. “I’m not focused on that at all. I am focused on getting the job done and getting the legislation passed,” he said.

Kentucky GOP Rep. Thomas Massie, who joined Greene’s effort earlier this month, told CNN late Tuesday that the Democrats’ promise to save Johnson will only help the effort to oust him.

“If you want to get rid of Johnson, that was a gift,” he said, pointing to House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries in particular. “That was really a gift to our effort. I mean, to have Mike Johnson endorsed by Hakeem Jeffries, the person who’s supposed to be our foe?”

Meanwhile, Greene would not answer questions from CNN but said that she and Massie would speak more about their effort to oust Johnson at a news conference Wednesday morning.

The Democratic leaders announced the decision at the conclusion of their caucus meeting Tuesday morning as House Republicans have told CNN the effort behind the motion to vacate Johnson’s speakership is “dead.”

“No, it’s dead,” Republican Rep. Kat Cammack of Florida said earlier Tuesday when asked if there has been any movement on the threat since the weeklong House recess.

Oklahoma Republican Kevin Hern, exiting the House Republican weekly conference meeting on Tuesday before the Democrats’ announcement, downplayed the motion-to-vacate threats and told reporters, “Nobody is talking about it.”

Johnson told CNN on Monday he had not talked with Greene about the motion to vacate threat.

This story has been updated with additional developments.

CNN’s Manu Raju and Morgan Rimmer contributed to this report.

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