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House Democratic leaders say they would help save Speaker Johnson's job

House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Speaker of the House Mike Johnson are seen here attending a congressional tribute in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol for retired Army Col. Ralph Puckett Jr. on April 29.
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House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Speaker of the House Mike Johnson are seen here attending a congressional tribute in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol for retired Army Col. Ralph Puckett Jr. on April 29.

House Democratic leaders say they'll help House Speaker Mike Johnson keep his job if members of his own party make a move to oust him.

"From the very beginning of this Congress, House Democrats have put people over politics and found bipartisan common ground with traditional Republicans in order to deliver real results. At the same time, House Democrats have aggressively pushed back against MAGA extremism," House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar and Minority Whip Katherine Clark said in a joint statement.

"We will vote to table Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene's Motion to Vacate the Chair. If she invokes the motion, it will not succeed."

In March, Greene filed a motion to vacate the speaker over frustrations with his leadership, saying he gave Democrats too much in spending deals. Two other Republicanshave since signed on to her effort. But Greene hasn't yet triggered a vote.

Democrats have been telegraphing the idea that they could save Johnson, following the passage of Ukraine aid, something blocs of House Republicans remain opposed to.

Johnson reacted to the news in real time during a press conference following the GOP conference meeting Tuesday morning.

"First I've heard of it," he said. "What the country needs right now is a functioning Congress. They need a Congress that works well works together and does not hamper its own ability to solve these problems."

He said he did not have any conversation with Jeffries before the national security supplemental came to a vote about whether he could count on Democratic support if a motion to vacate was brought to the floor.

"I've had colleagues from both parties come up to me on the floor, of course, and say we won't stand for this," he said. "I've not requested assistance from anyone."

Copyright 2024 NPR

Barbara Sprunt is a producer on NPR's Washington desk, where she reports and produces breaking news and feature political content. She formerly produced the NPR Politics Podcast and got her start in radio at as an intern on NPR's Weekend All Things Considered and Tell Me More with Michel Martin. She is an alumnus of the Paul Miller Reporting Fellowship at the National Press Foundation. She is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., and a Pennsylvania native.
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