AOC warns Democratic support won’t be ‘free’ as Johnson faces threat


Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., warned that Democratic support for House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., could come with a price, as Johnson faces a push to oust him at the hands of his own party.

Ocasio-Cortez told CNN Sunday that she is “not inclined” to vote to keep Johnson in his leadership post, but the lawmaker said she expects Democrats will “work as a team.”

Johnson became speaker of the House in October after the House voted to remove former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., less than a year into the job. Now, just five months into his leadership term, Johnson confronts a potentially similar fate.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., on Friday filed a motion to vacate against Johnson – a move that could remove him as speaker – after the GOP leader worked with Democrats to dodge a government shutdown.

“This is basically a warning and it’s time for us to go through the process, take our time and find a new speaker of the House that will stand with Republicans and our Republican majority instead of standing with the Democrats,” Greene said outside the Capitol Friday.

It is unknown when or if Greene’s motion would be taken up for a vote, as House lawmakers leave Washington for a two-week recess. But should a vote on the motion to vacate happen, Ocasio-Cortez made it clear she and other Democrats will expect something in return if they step in to help Johnson.

“I don’t think we do that for free, and I don’t think that we do that out of sympathy for Republicans,” the New York representative told CNN.

Democrats joined behind eight Republicans to oust McCarthy, at the urging of Democratic Minority Leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y.

Apprehension surrounds the possibility of Johnson’s removal, after McCarthy’s exit last fall left the lower chamber leaderless and frozen for weeks.

“My vote would most likely be for a Speaker Jeffries,” Ocasio-Cortez said Sunday, “which becomes an increasingly likely reality day after day as Republicans pursue further mid-term resignations.” 

Reps. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin and Ken Buck of Colorado became the latest in a string of Republican lawmakers to announce an early retirement from Congress, cutting the GOP’s current House majority to just one member.

Ken Tran contributed reporting.


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