Jayapal blasts Johnson, House GOP for lack of action: ‘Same menu, different waiter’

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Congressional Progressive Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) blasted House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) and House Republicans for the lack of action in passing legislation since he took over as Speaker. 

The Washington Democrat criticized Johnson and GOP House members for the ineffectiveness of this year’s Congress and their reluctance to attempt to pass legislation featuring aid for Ukraine on the House side. 

“I’ve been saying for over a year that this is Republicans in ruin, and you know, they have been unable to govern, we had three weeks without a speaker,” Jayapal said during his Saturday morning appearance on MSNBC’s “The Weekend.” “Kevin McCarthy kind of sold out the whole notion of governing when he first said one member of the Republican caucus can get rid of him as speaker if they don’t like what he’s doing.” 

Despite House Republicans electing Johnson in late October, Jayapal thinks the change will not make much of a difference in getting legislation passed through the lower chamber.

Congress only passed 31 laws in 2023.

“Now. We have moved with this new speaker who let’s be clear, I mean, Mike came in with me, Speaker Johnson came in with me, but it’s the same menu, different waiter,” Jayapal said. 

She added that Johnson is facing the same issue as former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), that in the case of putting a Ukraine aid package on the House floor, he would lose his speakership with a GOP member potentially triggering a motion to vacate, the same maneuver that cost McCarthy his position. 

“He [Johnson] is dealing with the same issues that the Republican Conference has had this whole time,” Jayapal said. “And so he is in a situation where he has a significant number of Republicans, I think it was around 100 that have voted against Ukraine aid in the past, and he can’t bring this thing up, because he’s afraid they’re gonna kick him out as speaker unless he goes with Democratic support.” 

House leadership has said earlier this month that the Senate-passed $95 billion aid package to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan is “dead on arrival.” 

Johnson has rejected the legislation because it does not contain adjustments to immigration policy, although the House GOP scrapped a bipartisan Senate border deal that took months to negotiate. 

“And so I think this is a real challenge for us in a time when we desperately need a functioning Congress and Republicans are continuing to be in ruin,” Jayapal said.

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