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The Daily / The New Speaker Avoided a Shutdown. Can He Avoid Being Ousted? | The Daily

The New Speaker Avoided a Shutdown. Can He Avoid Being Ousted? | The Daily

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In this episode of “The Daily,” the focus is on Speaker Mike Johnson and his efforts to avoid a government shutdown. Johnson’s approach to the job as Speaker is very partisan, which has invoked the ire of the Freedom Caucus. The podcast explores the challenges Johnson faces in maintaining his position and the growing discontent among far-right Republicans.

Main Takeaways

Speaker Mike Johnson and the Spending Bill

  • Speaker Mike Johnson worked with Democrats to avert a government shutdown.
  • Johnson operated differently as Speaker than as a rank and file member.
  • Johnson invoked the ire of the Freedom Caucus by passing the spending bill with Democratic votes.
  • Johnson’s approach to the job as Speaker is very partisan and about sticking it to the Democrats.
  • Johnson inherited all of the spending drama that eventually led to the ouster of Kevin McCarthy.

Johnson’s Strategy and Opposition

  • Johnson takes a page from Kevin McCarthy’s playbook and meets with various factions of the House Republican conference to hear their opinions on government spending cuts.
  • Some Republicans wanted a government shutdown to force a discussion on cutting spending, while moderates and Chuck Schumer advised against it.
  • Johnson keeps his plans close to the chest, causing suspense among lawmakers as the deadline approaches.
  • Johnson unveils a bill to keep government funding flowing without any spending cuts or conservative policies attached.
  • Johnson structures the bill to fund the government in two steps, which appeases the House Freedom Caucus but is still a clean spending bill.

The Fallout and Johnson’s Position

  • Plan angers influential conservative Chip Roy of Texas, who announces opposition on Twitter during a conference call.
  • A large number of Republicans oppose the plan, while every single Democrat except two support it.
  • Democrats initially grumble about funding deadlines, but ultimately support the plan because it has no spending cuts or conservative policies attached.
  • Johnson uses Democrats to keep the government open and funded, but assures reporters he is still one of the arch conservatives and wants to cut spending and add policy writers.
  • Soft Freedom Caucus members sympathize with Mike Johnson more than Kevin McCarthy.

The Growing Discontent

  • Freedom Caucus members are unhappy with the decision but don’t begrudge Johnson personally.
  • Johnson is seen as someone they have been able to trust.
  • Some Republicans are angry that they are continuing business as usual.
  • The House Freedom Caucus tanks the House’s ability to pass a spending bill to fund the government agencies.
  • Speaker Johnson’s speakership is on thin ice with the far right.


Speaker Mike Johnson’s Balancing Act

Speaker Mike Johnson finds himself in a delicate position as he works to avoid a government shutdown. By collaborating with Democrats to pass a spending bill, Johnson has angered the far-right Freedom Caucus. However, he believes that his approach is necessary to keep the government funded and open. Johnson’s strategy involves meeting with different factions of the House Republican conference to gather input on spending cuts. While some Republicans advocate for a government shutdown to address spending concerns, Johnson opts for a clean bill without any cuts or conservative policies. This decision garners support from Democrats but faces opposition from influential conservatives like Chip Roy. Despite the backlash, Johnson maintains that he is still aligned with conservative values and aims to cut spending. However, his position as Speaker is increasingly precarious as discontent grows among far-right Republicans.

The Fallout and Uncertain Future

The fallout from Johnson’s actions reveals a division within the Republican party. While some members of the Freedom Caucus sympathize with Johnson’s approach, others are displeased with the decision. Johnson’s ability to maintain trust among his colleagues is crucial. However, there is growing discontent among Republicans who feel that business is being conducted as usual without addressing spending concerns. The House Freedom Caucus’s opposition to a spending bill further undermines Johnson’s position as Speaker. Although Johnson has managed to convince far-right Republicans to tolerate him despite disagreements on budgets, the current political climate and the chaos caused by ousting a Speaker may deter the Freedom Caucus from taking action against him.


Speaker Mike Johnson’s ability to navigate the challenges of avoiding a government shutdown while managing the discontent among far-right Republicans is being tested. His approach, which involves working with Democrats and passing a clean spending bill, has drawn criticism from conservatives. Johnson’s position as Speaker hangs in the balance as he tries to maintain trust and address spending concerns. The outcome remains uncertain, but the fallout from this episode highlights the complexities and divisions within the Republican party.

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