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House Democrats Dangle Support for Speaker Mike Johnson Amid Immigration Bill Controversy

Washington, D.C., January 19, 2024

House Democrats are offering a political lifeline to Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), promising to support him in retaining his speakership if he aligns with them on an immigration bill that has faced opposition from within his own party. The bill, co-authored by Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) and Democrats, has been a point of contention, with Johnson expressing his opposition, aligning himself with President Donald Trump and conservative voices.

Despite facing pressure from both ends of the political spectrum, Democrats are extending an olive branch to Johnson, urging him to support the immigration deal they champion. The bill, however, has faced criticism for its perceived inadequacy in addressing the ongoing border crisis during President Joe Biden's administration.

House Homeland Security Committee Bennie Thompson (D-MS) emphasized that their aim is not to "save Johnson," but to acknowledge and support him if he takes a stand that aligns with their priorities. Thompson stated, “Our job is not to save Johnson, but I think it would be a mighty pity if he did the right thing … for us not to support him. Up to this point, he’s been a fairly honest broker.”

Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) underscored the potential impact of Johnson's decisions on border policies, suggesting that the Speaker could make significant progress in addressing the border situation while maintaining his political stance. Smith noted, “You’re going to make an enormous amount of progress on the border however this comes out — and you’ve still got your political issue because you think there’s more that needs to be done.”

Johnson has chosen not to endorse the immigration deal, urging President Joe Biden to utilize executive authority to address the border crisis. He advocates for a return to some of the border control policies implemented during Trump's presidency, including the Remain in Mexico policy, which mandates migrants seeking asylum to await their court dates in Mexico.

“On his first day in office, President Biden came in and issued executive orders that began this chaos,” remarked Johnson in early January. The Speaker's resistance to the proposed immigration deal highlights the ongoing debates within the Republican party regarding the most effective approach to managing immigration and addressing the challenges at the border. As political maneuvering intensifies, Johnson's decisions may not only impact the fate of the immigration bill but also his standing within his own party.


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