Slim House GOP Majority Gets Narrower
Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., and Michael McCaul, R-Texas, left, along with Reps. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, Mike Rogers, R-Ala., off camera, address the media after a meeting with President Joe Biden at the White House about funding for Ukraine in the war with Russia and border security, on Wednesday, January 17, 2024.
(Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

With the exit of another member of Congress, the GOP’s narrow majority in the House got even smaller — a slim margin that has complicated matters for leadership when it comes to key issues.

The House confirmed on Monday the resignation of Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH), who left office to become president of Youngstown State University, making the party breakdown 219 Republicans and 213 Democrats.

There are now three vacancies in the 435-member chamber. Lawmakers voted to expel Rep. George Santos (R-NY) following the release of a scathing ethics report in December. After losing the speakership in October, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) opted to leave Congress at the end of last year.

A special election for the seat vacated by Santos is set for mid-February. California has settled on a March 19 primary and general election on May 21 if no candidate beats the 50% threshold in the primary to replace McCarthy. Ohio is going with a special election primary for Johnson’s vacant seat on March 19 and a general election on June 11.

Beyond vacancies, House Republicans are temporarily short a couple of men due to medical reasons. Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY) is recovering from a back injury he sustained in a motor vehicle collision this month. And Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) has been away from Washington to undergo a stem cell transplant as he battles blood cancer.


Homeland Security Chairman Mark Green (R-TN) acknowledged in a Fox interview over the weekend that one of the “challenges” the GOP faces in its effort to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is members being out for “medical issues,” but he suggested a House floor vote could happen sometime after early February.

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) recently spoke about the political situation for House Republicans as he faces pushback from a group of conservatives, including members of the Freedom Caucus, amid negotiations on spending and border security with a Senate and White House that are controlled by Democrats.

“Everyone understands the reality of where we are,” Johnson said at a news conference last week. “The House Republicans have the second-smallest majority in history. We’re not going to get everything that we want. But we’re going to stick to our core conservative principles.”

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