Speaker Johnson Infuriates Fellow Republicans With Shocking Sudden Move

OPINION:  This article contains commentary which may reflect the author’s opinion

After weeks of unrest following the historic removal of then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who infuriated the party’s most conservative section over his failure to fulfill certain promises, House Speaker Mike Johnson easily earned the backing of his caucus in late October.

It appears that Johnson (R-La.) may now face the possibility of losing his seat as well.

The yearly defense spending measure must be passed, and Johnson had intended to include a brief extension of a potent federal government surveillance tool. However, as the Washington Examiner reported on Friday, “members of the House Freedom Caucus announced their opposition to” the action.

“After changing his stance and reversing course multiple times in the past week on how he plans to ensure section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act does not expire at the end of the year, Johnson settled on including a clean short-term extension of the tool until April 19, 2024, in the National Defense Authorization Act, something he said he would not do just days prior,” the report continued.

However, the Examiner noted that the most conservative members of the party as well as the centrist Republicans are against that.

“Any reauthorization of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) must be considered only with significant reforms and as a standalone measure,” Freedom Caucus members said in a statement. “Under no circumstances should an extension be attached to ‘must pass’ legislation such as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

“The Members of the House Freedom Caucus are prepared to use all available leverage to change the status quo,” the statement went on. “We will not simply vote ‘no’ on bad legislation and go home for Christmas.”

The declaration outlines a clear policy position against adding a temporary extension of the espionage tool to the NDAA, despite the voices of protest. According to the Examiner, this approach has drawn criticism for the yearly defense bill from the people on both political parties’ left and right wings.

“The FISA extension is not great,” one centrist Republican, Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Calif.) said. “I don’t think it should be in the NDAA.”

According to a top Republican staffer, the likely course of action is for House leadership to put the NDAA up for vote while the rule is suspended, requiring a two-thirds majority to succeed. Even with the fierce resistance, there’s no guarantee that the necessary votes will be obtained. The Examiner did note that the aide conveyed confidence that party leaders feel they can secure the required support.

“That is sure to anger some hard-line conservatives such as Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), who opposes the NDAA and slammed Johnson and House Republican leadership for bringing the most recent continuing resolution up under suspension of the rules to avoid a possible rule failing on the floor,” the outlet said.

After being elected Speaker in late October, Johnson faced an urgent deadline on another crucial item that needed to pass in order to continue funding the federal government. He told a news outlet that finishing the bill as soon as possible was his top priority.

“Our first priority is to get the government funded,” Johnson told Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures.” “Our team is ready and working like a well-oiled machine.”

A day after taking office, Johnson stated that an energy and water appropriations package had been passed the previous week, and that “we’re moving as quickly as possible and trying to beat the deadline” of November 17th, when the current funding law expires, according to Newsmax.

However, he said, if the deadline nears and “we’re unable to finish [as] it is detailed work, and it takes some time, we’ll look at another stopgap measure.”

He added, “If we run out of time on the calendar, we may need a little bit more to complete it.”

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