‘I Am A Hardline Conservative’: Mike Johnson Responds To Chip Roy Over Threat To Remove Him From Office

Arjun Singh for The Daily Caller News Foundation.

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House Speaker Mike Johnson defended his record to the Daily Caller News Foundation on Wednesday amid threats from rank-and-file Republicans to remove him from office over a recent spending deal with Senate Democrats.

Johnson and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, as well as Senate and House Minority Leaders Mitch McConnell and Hakeem Jeffries, announced on Sunday a deal to fund the government for Fiscal Year 2024 with total discretionary spending of $1.59 trillion. The deal has been vehemently opposed by several House Republicans, including Rep. Chip Roy of Texas who has raised the prospect of Johnson’s removal from office.” (RELATED: House Republicans Threaten ‘Shutdown’ If Border Security Not Included In Government Funding Compromise)

“I’m not concerned about that. We’re leading. Chip Roy is one of my closest friends. We agree on almost everything in principle,” Johnson said. “Remember, I am a hardline conservative. That’s what they used to call me. I come from that camp. Chip and I agree on spending that we’ve got to dramatically reduce it. And I have a long record as a legislator of trying to cut spending.”

At $1.59 trillion, Johnson’s spending deal is nearly 20% above government spending during Fiscal Year 2019, the last full year of spending before the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I think it’s the best possible deal that conservatives and Republicans could get under these circumstances,” Johnson said at the press conference, flanked by House Majority Whip Tom Emmer, Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik and Republican Rep. Mike Flood of Nebraska.

“I’m leaving it on the table,” Roy said on Tuesday, adding “I’m not gonna say I’m gonna go file it tomorrow night… I think the speaker needs to know that we’re angry about [the deal].”

A spokesperson for Republican Rep. Tim Burchett of Tennessee told the DCNF that he’s “still pondering” whether to support Johnson’s removal from office over the deal.

Opposition to a spending compromise with Senate Democrats in September to avoid a government shutdown led to eight House Republicans, led by Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, voting with all House Democrats to remove Kevin McCarthy as the speaker of the House in October, which prompted a three-week scramble to elect a speaker that ended with Johnson’s ascension.

Johnson previously negotiated a second continuing resolution passed on Nov. 15 to keep the government open in staggered deadlines until Jan. 19 and Feb. 2, which was opposed by 93 members of his own conference.

“This agreement is a downpayment on restoring us to fiscal sanity in this country,” Johnson said.

While Johnson has argued that the deal enables the conference to negotiate more conservative priorities in the future, dissidents in this conference have indicated that the deal must include border security measures to earn their support.

“Democrats will not support including poison pill policy changes in any of the twelve appropriations bills,” Schumer said regarding the contents of the deal.

“Not a nickel was cut,” he said in remarks on the Senate floor Monday regarding spending levels in the deal.

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