What to Know in Washington: Ouster Risk Still Threatens Johnson

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Ouster Risk Still Threatens Johnson

The threat to Speaker Mike Johnson’s job isn’t going away — it’ll likely continue haunting Republicans into next year if they keep the House majority.

Mainstream Republicans want to change chamber rules to make it harder to call a snap vote on ousting a speaker by requiring more members to back the move. Under current rules, just one Republican can force a vote of no confidence against the speaker (R-La.).

That’s a byproduct of ex-Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) negotiations to get the gavel last year, and was used to dethrone him months later. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) forced a vote to remove Johnson last week, though her motion was defeated.

Raising the threshold to overthrow Johnson or any other GOP speaker would face an uphill battle without a clear path forward. GOP hard-liners oppose the move, and with a slim majority only a handful of Republicans can block any changes.

Greene or other frustrated Republicans could bring motions to vacate again over the next seven months, and Democrats haven’t pledged to defend Johnson against future efforts. That puts Johnson in a precarious position unless he can get a bipartisan vote to deny the motion, Maeve Sheehey reports. Read More

Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images
Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) speaks during a news conference at the Capitol on Thursday.


  • 11:30 a.m. — The president will meet with plaintiffs from the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision and their families at the White House.
  • 1:30 p.m. — Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre will hold a briefing with Stephen Benjamin, director of the Office of Public Engagement.


  • 12 p.m. — The House will start legislative business, including a vote to block witholding Israel security assistance.
  • 10 a.m. — Senators return to vote on a GOP-led effort to nix a new crypto rule and move judicial nominees.
  • For the full agenda read BGOV’s Congress Tracker.

From BGOV’s Hill Reporters

House lawmakers taking a victory lap after sending major aviation legislation to the president’s desk are now turning their attention toward other transportation bills they’d like to advance this year. Some members estimated the bill reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday was the last major bipartisan bill they’d complete before turning to campaigning. Read More

Legislation that seeks to modernize a telecommunications policy agency, beef up consumer safety protections, and promote emerging technologies heads to the Senate. House lawmakers on Wednesday voted to pass a handful of bipartisan bills, which would crack down on so-called junk fees and reauthorize the federal agency tasked with helping connect Americans to high-speed internet. Read More

House and Senate backers of biosecurity legislation are eyeing passage this year, possibly on the National Defense Authorization Act, the annual must-pass defense bill, lawmakers said. The House Oversight Committee approved the bill which would cut federal funds to biotechnology companies controlled by “foreign adversaries” is gaining steam as a national security matter. Read More

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on Wednesday promised senators progress on a malfunctioning financial system that’s held up disaster aid for fisheries, the latest in a string of problems with payments at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Raimondo told the lawmakers the agency was making progress and that the long-beleaguered financial software is now working. Read More

Homeland Security’s intelligence arm is seeking to reshape the office formed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks to focus on the latest threats menacing Americans, intelligence under secretary Ken Wainstein said in an exclusive interview with Bloomberg Government. Key lawmakers are reviewing the changes with some skepticism and say they have plans for additional oversight and legislation to make sure the office doesn’t overstep when it collects intelligence. Read More

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Tax Leak Penalty, Foreign Influence Bills Sent to House

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Venture Global Slams ‘Eleventh Hour’ FERC Data Request on LNG

Venture Global LNG Inc. says it is still hopeful the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will vote on its application for a liquefied natural gas export project this month even after receiving an “eleventh hour” data request from the agency on Wednesday — one day before the regulator releases its agenda for its May meeting.

First Tax Court Picks to Face Senate Panel in Early Summer

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US House Ethics Panel Subpoenaes DOJ for Gaetz Records: Politico

The House Ethics Committee has served the Justice Department with a subpoena earlier this week, demanding documents and other records to assist with an ongoing investigation into Matt Gaetz, Politico reports, citing a person familiar with the probe it didn’t identify.

Menendez Trial Starts in New York

Bob Menendez’s bribery trial started with a prosecutor telling jurors the senator took cash, gold bars and a luxury car in exchange for favors.

The former Senate Foreign Relations Chair is accused of taking bribes from businessmen, illegally helping the government of Qatar and acting as an agent of Egypt.

“This was not politics as usual,” Assistant US Attorney Lara Pomerantz told jurors in New York federal court. “This was politics for profit. Robert Menendez was a United States senator on the take, motivated by greed, focused on how much money he could put in his pocket and in his wife’s pocket.” Menendez (D-N.J.), a three-term senator, lost his political support in the Senate and New Jersey after prosecutors displayed photographs of the gold bars and $480,000 in cash seized at his home in 2022. Read More

Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J) leaves federal court in New York on Monday.

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Biden Risks Losing Significant Share of Black Vote, King Says

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What Else We’re Watching

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US Warns Israel of Gaza Power Vacuum and Wants Post-War Plan

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US Removes Cuba From List of Nations Not Fighting Terrorism:Rtrs

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To contact the reporters on this story: Giuseppe Macri in Washington at gmacri@bgov.com; Jeannie Baumann in Washington at jbaumann@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kayla Sharpe at ksharpe@bloombergindustry.com

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