Hakeem Jeffries Doing End-around on Speaker Johnson

By Jerry McConway, updated on February 8, 2024

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) has not had an easy time with the gavel thus far, and it may be about to get a bit more difficult or, at the very least, a bit more embarrassing than it already has been.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) has hinted that there is dissension in the ranks, and he may be doing an end-around on Johnson to get legislation passed on the floor of the House.

Talking Points…
- Johnson has a rough start
- Jeffries doing an end-around
- Analysis

Johnson Off to Rough Start

Johnson has not exactly been knocking it out of the park since taking over the gavel. It is hard to remember a Speaker with as many failed votes as Johnson has had this early in his term. The secret to being a successful Speaker is never to put a bill on the floor that you are uncertain will pass. Johnson has done this multiple times, including two times over the last week with the failed impeachment of Mayorkas and the failed Israel stand-alone aid bill.

Before putting any legislation on the floor, the House Speaker, Majority Leader, and WHIP are to rally votes and make sure you have enough votes for the legislation to pass. Johnson and his leadership team are clearly not doing the work on this front, or else this legislation would not have failed.

Johnson has no room for error, with only a handful of votes to spare in any vote in order to pass legislation. Point being, they need to count every vote and be sure of every vote before putting any partisan legislation on the floor. On that front, he has failed miserably, and members are not happy with him right now.

Jeffries Doing End-around

Jeffries is now claiming that some moderate members of the House on the Republican side of the aisle have reached out to him to try to get legislation passed. If this is true, the clock will be ticking on how much longer Johnson is able to hold that gavel. Jeffries stated:

"There are several Republicans who are not in leadership, who have reached out to my colleagues on the Democratic side here in the House, to indicate a willingness to work together to advance a comprehensive national security package."

As of this report, Senator Schumer (D-N.Y.) was about to put a security bill on the floor of the Senate that left out border issues, and it reportedly had the support of enough Republicans to get passed. If that bill passes, Jeffries is hoping to do the same in the House. Jeffries addressed this issue, stating:

"We'll see what the Senate does in a few hours. But either way, here in the House of Representatives, the only way forward is for Democrats and Republicans to come together to meet the national security needs of the American people in a bipartisan fashion, and that is exactly what we are committed to do in the next few days."

The reason the bill that Johnson put on the floor failed was because it was not paid for, and Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) has been adamant that the Freedom Caucus will not support legislation that is not paid for. He stated:

"We're having ongoing conversations about what we need to do to stand with Israel, but do it responsibly.

"Which means we've got to factor in paying for it, or, and/or dealing with UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) and all of the ridiculous things this administration is doing to fund Israel's enemies…and/or, what can we do about our own border."

Analysis

There is only one way that this will work for Jeffries, and that is if he can pull off a discharge petition, which is both rare and extremely embarrassing to the majority party's leadership. The signers of a discharge petition are public, so any member of the GOP that would support such an idea would be exposed and likely have their career ended for siding with Democrats.

About Jerry McConway

Jerry McConway is an independent political author and investigator who lives in Dallas, Texas. He has spent years building a strong following of readers who know that he will write what he believes is true, even if it means criticizing politicians his followers support. His readers have come to expect his integrity.

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