Mike Johnson’s Spectacular Day of Failure

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from New York Magazine,

Washington is still abuzz with amazement at last week’s categorical rejection by House Speaker Mike Johnson of a pending Senate-negotiated border-security deal that made nativist hearts flutter and represented an abject surrender (or at best, a tactical retreat) by Democrats on one of the GOP’s top priorities. It made Johnson look like someone far more interested in political posturing than in legislating and also reinforced his reputation as an especially submissive toady of Donald Trump, who opposes any deals with Democrats on any subject until he’s returned to the White House.

But it turns out Johnson was just warming up in his efforts to play the fool. On February 6, he managed to put together a spectacular display of legislative failure, losing a bid to impeach Homeland Security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and then pulling off the nearly impossible feat of getting beaten on a clean bill offering aid to Israel, a great bipartisan favorite.

After that fiasco, Johnson moved on to a more predictable if even more embarrassing defeat. Having killed the border-security deal central to a broader package of legislation extending aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, Johnson wanted to make it clear House Republicans still loved Israel, notwithstanding their deep divisions on Ukraine. So he offered a “clean” stand-alone Israel aid bill. But because the hard-core conservatives of the House Freedom Caucus are in open revolt against Johnson’s leadership, they are systematically blocking rules votes. So the Speaker had to bring up the Israel measure under a suspension of the rules that requires a two-thirds supermajority.

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