US House Democrats won't support motion to eject Speaker Mike Johnson

FILE PHOTO: Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Mike Johnson attends a news conference at Columbia University in New York City

By Moira Warburton and Richard Cowan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. House Democrats will not support a proposed motion to eject Republican Speaker Mike Johnson if it comes to a vote, Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries said in a statement on Tuesday.

Johnson is facing threats of a motion to vacate the speaker's chair - the same legislative maneuver that saw Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy thrown out from the job for the first time in U.S. history last year - from Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a far-right Republican who is unhappy that Congress approved aid to Ukraine.

However Greene's move has not got the same levels of support that the motion against McCarthy received. The House Freedom Caucus, a group of far-right Republicans who led the charge on removing McCarthy, have said they do not think such a move would be beneficial for House Republicans so close to the U.S. general election on Nov. 5.

Jeffries' statement, which comes after House Democrats convened for a regular caucus meeting on Tuesday morning, means a motion to vacate Johnson will almost definitely be shelved, if it is ever put to a vote.

"House Democrats have put people over politics and found bipartisan common ground with traditional Republicans in order to deliver real results," Jeffries said, citing the recent $95 billion foreign aid package passed on Apr. 23. "At the same time, House Democrats have aggressively pushed back against MAGA extremism. We will continue to do just that."

When asked about Jeffries' statement at a weekly press conference, Johnson said he had not seen it but noted that the House was closed for three weeks the last time there was a motion to vacate, an occurrence the country cannot afford to repeat.

"What the country needs right now is a functioning Congress," he said. "They need a Congress that works well, works together and doesn't hamper its own ability to solve these problems."

Greene accused Johnson on Tuesday of being "officially the Democrat Speaker of the House" in a post on the social media platform X and called for him to "resign (and) switch parties."

(Reporting by Moira Warburton and Richard Cowan in Washington, Editing by Alistair Bell and Deepa Babington)