Mike Johnson is the second Speaker of the House that has been seen by the current Congress. The first, Kevin McCarthy, found himself on the end of a vote to lose his job after working with the Democrats on a stopgap funding bill, and Johnson was picked as a more Conservative option.

A Compromise From Months Ago

The compromise with Democrats that ultimately lost McCarthy his job as the Speaker was months ago, and Mike Johnson’s Speakership has been riddled with controversy ever since. Johnson is a member of the Freedom Caucus, the far-right faction of the House of Representatives who are staunch Trump loyalists.

Source: Wikimedia/Office of the Speaker of the House

Johnson himself has been accused of being the leading architect of the plan to overturn the 2020 election and prevent Joe Biden’s certification, and because of that, many of the more moderate members of his party have not been thrilled with him, his choices, or much of the press that has followed him since taking the leadership position.

A Deeply Ineffective Speaker

Johnson has been far from the most effective Speaker of the House during his tenure in office. He has been tasked with the challenging, delicate operation of appeasing the more extreme members of the Freedom Caucus including Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene, while still passing legislation through the larger house that makes its way to his desk through committee and the Senate.

Source: Wikimedia/Office of Representative Mike Johnson

Unfortunately, Johnson has not been accomplishing this delicate task very well. Many different forms of legislation, including standard yearly budgets to fund the government, have fallen by the wayside under Johnson’s rule.

Bipartisan Legislation on the Cutting Room Floor

This is in spite of the fact that he has been handed multiple pieces of bipartisan legislation from the Senate that would be easy to pass, and good for the American people and good press for the House. One such bill is the recent bipartisan border legislation that was passed by the Senate, which Johnson refused to bring to the floor of the House for debate at all.

Source: Wikimedia/Office of Representative Mike Johnson

This appears to be in an effort to rely on total partisanship in his House of Representatives to make bills happen. Johnson has made clear that his priority is appeasing his Republican caucus by any means necessary, and that means, necessarily, rebuking any bipartisan legislation no matter how beneficial it might be for the country or his reelection campaign.

The Border Bill Could Have Passed

The bipartisan border bill that Johnson declined to bring to the floor for debate or a vote was a multi-layered bill, also including funding for our allies in Ukraine, Taiwan, and Israel. Johnson has stated repeatedly that he would like to bring a standalone funding bill for these defense relationships to the floor, but has failed in votes on the issues more than once.

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore

Given the widespread popularity of an issue such as funding Israel and Ukraine, it’s perhaps unsurprising that the House of Representatives is, yet again, looking at the helm of another partial government shutdown. A stopgap funding bill has been passed three times regarding government funding, and it appears that the grace period for Mike Johnson has finally run out.

Partisanship in Funding the Government

Funding the government is one of the standard acts of Congress that typically doesn’t have much drama surrounding it. Determining a budget and passing it to the president to sign is a standard fare for any Congress, and only in the last few years has partisanship started to get in the way of this basic act of governing.

Source: Wikimedia/Government Official Congressman Mike Johnson

This government shutdown is looming starting on Friday, and Johnson has released multiple statements that he and his fellow representatives have been working around the clock to prepare the bills to vote on in the House. Unfortunately for Johnson, there are members of his own caucus who are deeply dissatisfied with his response to governing.

Josh Hawley with Harsh Words

Republican Senator Josh Hawley, who has faced his own controversies during his term as a Senator, has released a statement expressing his frustration with Johnson’s leadership style, as well as the fact that there has yet to be a workable spending bill for the Senate to vote on.

Source: Wikimedia/Master Sgt. Michael Crane

He said publicly that it’s “just ridiculous” that a funding agreement hadn’t been able to be made sooner. This is especially in light of the fact that the Senate has been working to craft bipartisan legislation to pass across the board, which Johnson refuses to vote on.

A Meeting with Leadership this Week

A meeting was held this week between Speaker Mike Johnson, President Biden, and leaders Chuck Schumer and Mitch Mcconnell of the Senate to discuss possible compromises on different legislation. One of those topics of conversation, understandably, was about legislation to avoid a government shutdown and military aid to Ukraine and Israel.

Source: Wikimedia/Senate Democrats

Hawley spoke with CNN’s Manu Raju, where he criticized the amount of time that it has taken to reach a funding agreement in order to avoid a government shutdown. “This was supposed to be done in September. I mean, this is now almost March? Well, this is just ridiculous,” he claimed.

“My Patience Has Run Out”

Hawley went on to explain, “They have agreement on the top line. They’ve had it since January. This is why I voted against the last CR. They’ve just been kicking the can down the road. I can’t believe that they didn’t get work done over the weekend. They had months to do this stuff. I mean, I-my patience has run out.”

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore

Hawley went on to clarify that Johnson is not alone in holding blame for the current holdup. He believes that the issue is with all government leadership, who have been refusing to work together on the important issues that are necessary in governing.

Not the First Critique, Or the Last

These comments are not the first time where Hawley, one of the more deeply conservative members of the Senate, has criticized GOP leadership in recent months. Earlier this month, Hawley called leadership a “total embarrassment” after the Senate failed to pass a bipartisan bill aimed at addressing the U.S.-Mexico border amidst the ongoing immigration crisis.

Source: Wikimedia/Office of Speaker Mike Johnson

Hawley is far from the only Republican who has criticized leadership of both parties in recent months, and it’s likely he won’t be the last. Johnson has a steep hill to climb when it comes to funding the government and appeasing members of both parties, and at this juncture, it’s uncertain whether he has the legislative and interpersonal skills to make it happen.