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Second Republican says they will back effort to oust Johnson from speakership

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A second House Republican told Mike Johnson on Tuesday that he will sign on to an attempt to end his speakership, according to two lawmakers in the room — meaning Johnson would almost certainly need Democratic votes to retain his gavel if his rivals move against him.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) said during a closed-door GOP meeting that he would back Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene‘s (R-Ga.) effort amid rising conservative frustration with the speaker’s proposed foreign aid package. Massie is the first Republican to commit to supporting her. It’s still unclear when Greene plans to force the ouster vote, though she has vowed to do it eventually.

“You’re not going to be the speaker much longer,” Massie told Johnson, according to two lawmakers in the room.

On Monday evening, Johnson announced his plans to send four separate bills to the floor — on aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, plus a fourth with other miscellaneous provisions. That sparked pushback from Greene and some other conservatives, who have opposed attempts to send further cash to Ukraine. Given that resistance, Johnson would likely need Democratic support to bring those bills to the floor, which could further incite GOP hard-liners in any ouster vote.

Massie confirmed his plans to back Greene in a post on X during the conference meeting. He added that Johnson “should pre-announce his resignation (as Boehner did), so we can pick a new Speaker without ever being without a GOP Speaker.”

Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.) said Massie’s announcement was “not received very well” in the private GOP conference meeting. Majority Leader Steve Scalise said afterward that he still thinks they can avoid a vote to terminate Johnson’s speakership.

“Folks are very discouraged. … We are screwed,” said one Republican lawmaker, granted anonymity to speak candidly.

Democrats aren’t yet committing to backing Johnson’s plan on foreign aid, saying they need to see the substance of the bills. And while a handful of lawmakers in the party said they would help Johnson keep his gavel if he put Ukraine aid on the House floor, it’s unclear if they’ll count his current plan as fulfilling his end of the bargain.

Democrats were told in their private conference meeting Tuesday that the money to Ukraine would still effectively be a grant, because the loan language Johnson is considering would make it difficult for Ukraine to ever pay back the money, according to one person in the room. Former President Donald Trump has repeatedly pushed to structure any further aid to Ukraine as a loan, an idea some Republicans have embraced.

If Johnson’s foreign aid plan passes the House, its fate in the Senate is uncertain. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday that he is “reserving judgment” on the package, and he and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have both repeatedly called on Johnson to pass their bipartisan foreign aid bill.

Nicholas Wu, Anthony Adragna and Ursula Perano contributed to this report.