In late October, following weeks of unrest that ensued after the historic removal of then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who incensed the most conservative faction of the party due to his failure to fulfill certain commitments, House Speaker Mike Johnson won the support of his caucus with relative ease.
Furthermore, it seems that Johnson (R-La.) is currently exposed to the potential risk of seat loss.
Johnson had intended for the annual defense funding measure, which must be enacted, to contain a temporary extension of a potent federal surveillance tool. On Friday, however, “members of the House Freedom Caucus announced their opposition to” the action, according to the Washington Examiner.
“After changing his stance and reversing course multiple times in the past week on how he plans to ensure section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act does not expire at the end of the year, Johnson settled on including a clean short-term extension of the tool until April 19, 2024, in the National Defense Authorization Act, something he said he would not do just days prior,” the report continued.
However, the Examiner noted that the most conservative members of the party as well as the centrist Republicans are against that.
“Any reauthorization of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) must be considered only with significant reforms and as a standalone measure,” Freedom Caucus members said in a statement. “Under no circumstances should an extension be attached to ‘must pass’ legislation such as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
“The Members of the House Freedom Caucus are prepared to use all available leverage to change the status quo,” the statement went on. “We will not simply vote ‘no’ on bad legislation and go home for Christmas.”
Despite protests, the declaration outlines a clear policy position opposing the provisional extension of the NDAA’s espionage tool. As reported by the Examiner, this methodology has elicited censure regarding the yearly defense bill from constituents aligned with the extremes of both political parties.
“The FISA extension is not great,” one centrist Republican, Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Calif.) said. “I don’t think it should be in the NDAA.”
A senior Republican staff member asserts that the NDAA will likely be submitted to a vote by House leadership during the rule’s suspension, with passage requiring a two-thirds majority. It cannot be assured that the requisite ballots will be acquired, notwithstanding the formidable opposition. The Examiner did observe, however, that the associate expressed assurance that party leaders are certain to obtain the necessary support.
“That is sure to anger some hard-line conservatives such as Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), who opposes the NDAA and slammed Johnson and House Republican leadership for bringing the most recent continuing resolution up under suspension of the rules to avoid a possible rule failing on the floor,” the outlet said.
Following his election as Speaker in late October, Johnson was confronted with an impending deadline regarding the passage of an additional pivotal item that was mandatory for the continuation of federal funding. He stated to a news organization that expeditiously completing the measure was his highest priority.
“Our first priority is to get the government funded,” Johnson told Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures.” “Our team is ready and working like a well-oiled machine.”
A day after taking office, Johnson stated that an energy and water appropriations package had been passed the previous week, and that “we’re moving as quickly as possible and trying to beat the deadline” of November 17th, when the current funding law expires, according to Newsmax.
However, he said, if the deadline nears and “we’re unable to finish [as] it is detailed work, and it takes some time, we’ll look at another stopgap measure.”
He added, “If we run out of time on the calendar, we may need a little bit more to complete it.”