Marge Gives Democrats a Shot on Ukraine Aid

Democrats weren’t willing to take my advice and add Ukraine aid to government funding bills. However, I missed something when I gave that advice: the desperation of radical House members to feel relevant. This has opened a backdoor for aid to Ukraine, for which we have Marjorie Taylor Greene – of all people – to thank.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) has filed a motion to oust Speaker Mike Johnson, setting up a high-stakes vote of confidence in his leadership as conservatives lament the Louisiana Republican’s passage of a $1.2 trillion government funding deal with mostly Democratic votes. Greene might not ultimately succeed in terminating Johnson’s speakership, but she was adamant about punishing him for the spending deal he struck with Democrats.

“This is a betrayal of the American people. This is a betrayal of Republican voters,” Greene said after the funding package passed. “The clock has started. It’s time for our conference to pick a new speaker.”

Greene didn’t say when the vote to oust Johnson would take place. She could have forced a 48-hour window, but chose not to do so – probably to avoid angering her colleagues who’d have their two-week recess delayed. Still, the specter of a new Speaker vacancy did much to concentrate the minds of members.

At this point, I would advise the Democrats to make clear that a deal could be in the cards, if and only if Ukraine funding is passed, but I couldn’t type fast enough.

House Democrats say Mike Johnson has an option to control his future over a motion to vacate from Marjorie Taylor Green: putting a Ukraine aid package on the floor.

Several Democrats from across the ideological spectrum said in interviews with POLITICO they would motion to table Greene’s resolution — if it came to a vote — if Johnson put a Ukraine aid package on the House floor for a vote.

All Democrats previously voted to oust former Speaker Kevin McCarthy along with a group of Republicans last fall.

“I think Speaker Johnson should demonstrate a willingness to govern in a way that is helpful to the plight of democracy and our allies across the world,” said Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.), who said she’d vote to set aside the motion if the Senate-passed foreign aid bill came up for a vote.

“If Taylor Greene puts forth a motion to vacate because there’s a bill on the floor that we have the ability to vote on — the Senate-passed Ukraine bill — I would absolutely vote to table,” she said.

“It’s not a question of saving Mike Johnson,” seconded Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.). “I’ll make a common cause and an alliance with anybody in Congress who will try to save the Ukrainian people at this point.”

Good for them. Republican divisions have been entertaining to watch, but little more. That would change if Democrats can get Ukraine the funding it needs.

We’ll see what happens.

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