Speaker Mike Johnson Is Unlikely to ‘Face a Rebellion’: Rep. Ken Buck

‘I don’t think he’s going to face a rebellion. I think he’s going to face support, when he finds ways to reduce our national spending,’ Rep. Buck said.
Speaker Mike Johnson Is Unlikely to ‘Face a Rebellion’: Rep. Ken Buck
Speaker of the House Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) listens as he waits for his turn to speak during a news briefing at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, on Nov. 2, 2023. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Rep. Ken Buck (R. Colo.) said that newly elected House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) would not face a revolt from GOP colleagues, unlike former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), as Mr. Johnson’s stop-gap spending bill did not have much support among House Republicans.

During an interview on CBS News’s “Face the Nation” with Margaret Brennan on Nov. 26, Mr. Buck was asked if Mr. Johnson would face the same fate as McCarthy if he collaborated with Democrats on the spending bill.

“I don’t think he’s going to face a rebellion. I think he’s going to face support, when he finds ways to reduce our national spending, our $36 trillion debt at the end of next year,” Mr. Buck said.

“One trillion dollars of money that is being spent to service that debt—those are real existential issues that America needs to deal with, and I think Speaker Johnson is going about it the right way,” he added.

Mr. Buck, who announced earlier this month that he would not seek reelection, was among the eight Republicans who voted to remove then-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in early October. He attributed his vote to Mr. McCarthy’s failure to honor promises not just to Congress members but also to the nation.

Last month, Mr. Buck was among 93 Republicans and two Democrats who voted against Speaker Johnson’s two-step spending measure to avert a government shutdown. The bill was passed with a 336-95 vote, winning support from 209 Democrats and 127 Republicans.

However, the Colorado congressman noted that the current problems stemmed from the previous speakership and praised the new speaker’s efforts to resolve these issues.

“I don’t think that most Republicans blame Speaker Johnson for the problems that he is now facing, the challenges he’s facing,” Mr. Buck said. “Those were created during the McCarthy time period, and Speaker Johnson is doing a good job to work his way through those issues.”

This year, passage of the 12 required spending bills was delayed by several factors, including a month-long delay by the president in submitting his annual budget request and protracted negotiations over raising the nation’s debt limit.

Infighting among House Republicans also produced delays due to disagreements on how aggressively to pursue the GOP agenda and the ouster of the former speaker, which brought House business to a halt for three weeks in October.

The Republican majority in the House has passed seven of the 12 bills, accounting for more than 75 percent of discretionary spending. However, Speaker Johnson has had difficulty finding agreement on the remaining five bills.

Newly Elected Speaker

Rep. Johnson was elected speakership in late October following more than three weeks without leadership and fierce infighting among House Republicans since the ouster of Rep. McCarthy.

Mr. Johnson was the fourth nominee for the job after three other nominees failed to secure enough votes, including House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), and House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.)

Mr. Johnson became the fifty-sixth speaker of the chamber on Oct. 25, winning 220 votes, including unanimous support from the Republican conference on the first ballot.

Since assuming the speakership, Mr. Johnson has been busy getting things done despite challenges from both sides of the aisle.

On Nov. 15, for example, he signaled his full support to resume the impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, saying that the investigation would be moving to the next steps in the process.

The impeachment inquiry was opened by former Speaker McCarthy and Republicans in the House of Representatives in September. The goal was to investigate the possible involvement of President Biden in the business dealings of his son, Hunter Biden, during his time as vice president, which critics argue would be an abuse of power in office.

Mr. Johnson also allowed the release of more than 40,000 hours of Jan. 6 Capitol Police security video to the public “to restore America’s trust and faith in their government.”

When the House returns on Nov. 28, Mr. Johnson will likely move quickly to revise three bills that have failed to gain support. They are bills funding the departments of Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development; Commerce, Justice, and related agencies; as well as Financial Services and General Government.

Lawrence Wilson and Stephen Katte contributed to this report.