Rep. Hakeem Jeffries sees his star rising as House Speaker Mike Johnson faces calls for his ouster

 May 3, 2024

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) has "significant power" to get things done in Congress which gives him an advantage over House Speaker Mike Johnson, the Associated Press reported. The House minority leader recently worked against Republicans seeking to ouster Johnson, marking a significant turning point.

Jeffries has managed to rally the votes to prevent a government shutdown with his leadership in the Democratic Party. He also succeeded in funding the war in Ukraine and other foreign powers to the tune of another $95 billion in aid.

However, his most significant move has been to keep Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) from replacing Johnson as House Speaker. Jeffries pulled this off while being the defacto next in line for the job should Democrats retake the House of Representatives.

"How powerful is Jeffries right now? That’s significant power," University of Southern California public policy professor Jeffrey Jenkins said.

Keeping a Level Head

Jeffries has the advantage of seeming level-headed at a time when some Republicans are losing theirs. There's no doubt that House Republicans like Greene have added fuel to Democrats' argument that the GOP is off the rails.

"From the very beginning of this Congress, House Republicans have visited chaos, dysfunction, and extremism on the American people," Jeffries claimed Wednesday. He further asserted that the GOP is "unwilling or unable" to control "the extreme MAGA Republicans."

He offered a solution that will be "a bipartisan coalition and partnership to accomplish that objective," Jeffries proposed. "We need more common sense in Washington, D.C., and less chaos."

Although Democrats have been smearing anyone associated with former President Donald Trump as unhinged and radical, Jeffries could have a point this time. If Greene succeeds, Johnson would become the second House Speaker to be ousted since October.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) headed up the effort to push McCarthy out in October only for Johnson to find himself in the same spot months later, Fox News reported. This is not a good look for the party, and even some Republicans are beginning to realize it.

Cooler Heads

While Johnson might not be perfect, many on the right acknowledge that this revolving door is not helping going into the 2024 presidential election. Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN), who supported the effort against McCarthy, isn't thrilled about doing the same to Johnson.

"I don't think it's a good idea. The support’s not there," Burchett said Wednesday.

Greene has said she's going to push for the vote next week where lawmakers will get to vote for it or table it. "I'm glad they're getting it out of the way, but waiting another week just keeps it in the press," Burchett said.

Even Gaetz doesn't think it's such a good idea and is hesitant to allow for Greene's vote next week. "I’ll probably support a motion to table it," he said.

Republicans are otherwise in good shape heading into 2024, but this issue with the House leadership could threaten that. It's absurd that the GOP feels the need to shoot itself in the foot like this, but some lawmakers are more interested in making headlines than convincing voters.

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