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FILE – House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries of N.Y., hands the gavel to speaker-elect Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2023. The two Baptists work side-by-side in the House but are miles apart politically and theologically. Jeffries, whose faith is rooted in the Black social gospel, has not been shy — just not as outspoken as Johnson regarding the role faith plays in his political duties. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said “chaos” and “dysfunction” in the House GOP has “effectively” given Democrats the majority, lending credence to far-right criticism of Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) as the GOP majority slims.

Jeffries said Sunday in a CBS “60 Minutes” interview with Norah O’Donnell that Democrats hold outright influence over the House because of how fractured the GOP majority is.

“Even though we’re in the minority, we effectively have been governing as if we were in the majority because we continue to provide a majority of the votes necessary to get things done,” Jeffries said. “Those are just the facts.”

“It’s a difficult situation on the other side of the aisle, because many of my Republican colleagues are more interested in creating chaos, dysfunction, and extremism,” he continued.

The Republican majority in the House stands at just five seats, with all in attendance, meaning Johnson has no room for error on controversial bills to ensure passage without working with Democrats.

Johnson also faces an ouster threat from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who has blasted the Speaker for working with Democrats and creating a “uniparty.” Jeffries and Democrats have said they will protect Johnson against Greene’s motion to vacate.

He said that Johnson has not asked him for help, but that backing the Speaker is what needs to be done.

“Our view would traditionally be, ‘Let the other side work its own mess out,’” he said. “But when that mess starts to impact the ability to do the job on behalf of the American people, then the responsible thing at that moment might be for us to make clear that we will not allow the extremists to throw the Congress and the country into chaos.”

Greene is expected to make her motion to vacate privileged this week, potentially setting up a vote. Two other GOP lawmakers have backed her effort.

Jeffries has already used Democrats’ influence to pass some bipartisan priorities in the House. Congress passed a $95 billion foreign aid package last week after weeks of negotiations with hard-line Republicans who resisted the effort. 

Unable to make a deal with his own party, Johnson voted with Democrats to advance the bill. Greene cited that vote in her decision to go after the Speaker.

“I voted for Mike Johnson because his voting record before he became Speaker was conservative … but once he became Speaker, he has become a man that none of us recognize,” she said last week. “We’re not going to have a House majority if we keep Mike Johnson.”


Hakeem Jeffries

house majority

Marjorie Taylor Greene

Mike Johnson

motion to vacate

speaker race

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