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Mike Johnson seeks to avoid McCarthy's fate as he navigates shutdown and immigration

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WASHINGTON — Under pressure from right-wing members, House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., faces stark challenges in keeping the government funded and responding to a potential Senate deal that would toughen immigration laws while providing funding for Ukraine.


He’s caught between a right flank that wants to kill both measures and the need to cut deals with Democrats who control the Senate and the White House to pass any legislation. The dilemma is ratcheting up as presidential primary season began this week in Iowa, adding a fresh political layer to the parliamentary dynamics of Johnson’s wafer-thin majority in the House, where some restive members are mulling whether to oust him from his job after less than three months.


For now, Johnson says he wants to protect his spending deal with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., after he met with conservatives who revolted against the deal, complaining that it would spend too much money. Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, said on “The Steve Deace Show” last week that a motion to vacate the speaker’s chair, removing Johnson from his job, is “on the table.” Any one member can force a vote.


“Our top-line agreement remains,” Johnson told reporters Friday. Over the weekend, Johnson and Schumer released a short-term bill to keep part of the government funded through March 1 and the rest through March 8, which Johnson said would buy time for Congress to finish full funding bills and for Republicans to achieve “meaningful policy wins.”