Johnson’s margin drops to one vote as Gallagher heads for early exit

Speaker Mike Johnson is about to drop to a one-vote majority, as retiring Rep. Mike Gallagher has decided he will exit the House as soon as next month, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

In a statement shortly after this story published, Gallagher said he planned to leave April 19.

“I’ve worked closely with House Republican leadership on this timeline and look forward to seeing Speaker Mike Johnson appoint a new chair to carry out the important mission of the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party,” he said.

The Wisconsin Republican announced earlier this year that he would not seek reelection, after he received blowback for voting against impeaching Homeland Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. His allies, however, say he was long jaded by the antics of the House following the ouster of Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

It’s bad timing for Johnson, who is now potentially facing a vote on his ouster in the coming weeks. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) filed the so-called motion to vacate on Friday, over Johnson working with Democrats to pass a massive spending bill, but it’s unclear when she’ll try to force the vote on the floor. At the moment, no other Republicans have said they support her motion.

Gallagher’s decision also further fuels House GOP concerns over its trajectory headed into the November election. Fewer mainstream Republicans like him means more power in the hands of GOP hardliners.

“It’s tough, but it’s tough with a five-seat majority, it’s tough with a two-seat majority, one is going to be the same. We all have to work together. We’re all going to have to unite if we’re going get some things done,” Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) said shortly after Gallagher announced his early exit.

Since Gallagher announced his retirement, the chair of the Select Committee on China has nabbed a legacy-making moment: House passage of a bipartisan bill that would force TikTok in the U.S. to sever its ties to the Chinese government.

Gallagher has said he plans to continue working on national security issues as part of the private sector.

Jordain Carney contributed to this report.