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Johnson caught between warring House GOP factions: ‘Drifting toward mob rule’

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House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., is finding himself in the crossfire of feuding House GOP factions, with Republican lawmakers at odds over a path forward on government spending. 

‘I would say the regular order crowd, people who don’t like drama and don’t like dumpster fires, are concerned that maybe we’re drifting toward a little bit more mob rule,’ one GOP lawmaker told Fox News Digital. ‘Their temperatures are getting up pretty high….I would say Mike’s got to be concerned with that crowd as well.’

Tensions have erupted in the House of Representatives already, less than halfway through the first month of 2024. 

A group of 12 conservatives staged a protest vote on Wednesday that tanked a normally sleepy procedural measure in a pointed shot at Johnson over his deal with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., aimed at avoiding a government shutdown. 

Those GOP hardliners have since been pressuring Johnson to go back on the agreement, a move that has angered both moderate Republicans and rank-and-file conservatives.

‘If all you’re here to do is rant and rave and scream, why’d you come?’ conservative Rep. Greg Murphy, R-N.C., told Fox News Digital of that group. ‘I don’t scream if I’m in the operating room and don’t have the right equipment, I make it work.’

One of the 12 who lodged the protest vote, Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C., told Fox News Digital on Thursday that Johnson was considering dropping the Schumer deal. 

‘[We’re’] working on alternate plans and Johnson listened to all sides. He did not commit, but he knows the crisis is border security, that has to be addressed,’ Norman said.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., another one of the rebels, emerged from a meeting with Johnson on Friday morning and said, ‘I don’t think there is a budget agreement yet.’

However, Johnson himself touted the bipartisan deal later on Friday morning and said it remains in place.

‘I have spoken and received feedback this week from members all across the Republican Conference. That’s a very important part of this,’ he said. ‘Our topline agreement remains. We are getting our next steps together, and we are working towards a robust appropriations process.’

Freedom Caucus member Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., told reporters in response, ‘I think that’s a bad move. I think it’s a bad deal.’

However, rank-and-file members are pushing Johnson to keep holding firm against the pressure.

‘He’s got to be careful who he’s listening to because, you know, it impacts people like me that are in districts that are watching and that are – listen, I represent a purple district and a tough seat,’ Rep. Jen Kiggans, R-Va., said. 

Kiggans told Fox News Digital that she is concerned about how the further cuts being pushed by hardliners would impact her military-heavy district.

‘They elected a Republican majority, so we can get things done, and we’re not, and it’s frustrating to me,’ Kiggans said. 

Another moderate, Rep. Juan Ciscomani, R-Ariz., said, ‘My recommendation to him is, stick to what you know is right…We know that we are working with a Democrat Senate and a very out-of-touch White House, and this is what we can negotiate, the best deal that we could come up with – even slightly more savings than what was negotiated before.’

Rep. Max Miller, R-Ohio, called on Johnson to be more decisive, but he insisted the issue began in early October when eight House Republicans voted to oust former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.

‘You’ve just got to make a decision and go with it. That’s what a leader does, right? And that’s not what we’re seeing right now, but I want to make something clear,’ Miller said.

‘We lost 10 weeks of Congress. How? Because Matt Gaetz and eight of the biggest RINOs in the Republican Conference voted with 213 Democrats…If they actually cared about the debt they would stop lying to the American people, because we’ve never lowered our national debt by cutting discretionary spending.’

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