GOP members are urging Johnson to quickly change the rules governing the speaker's vacancy

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

House Speaker Mike Johnson arrives to speak to reporters on April 17, 2024 at the Capitol in Washington.

Speaker Mike Johnson has been lobbied by his constituents to raise the threshold needed to trigger impeachment proceedings, according to multiple GOP sources — a move that would help ensure the Louisiana Republican passes foreign aid bills and potentially keep his job. He will have to rely on the Democrats to bail him out.

It is unclear what Johnson will do, but members believe he is considering a change to a process known as a motion to vacate the chair, which would be a significant move by Johnson.

In recent days, House Republicans have privately encouraged Johnson to insert the provision into the text of the foreign aid bills.

Currently, any member can force a vote on that motion — part of a deal brokered by Kevin McCarthy as Speaker last year.

Johnson was first reported to be pushing to raise the threshold By Punchbowl News.

The House Rules Committee meets Thursday morning to consider foreign aid bills. The text of the rule will be released after the committee approves it, which is expected later in the day.

That committee will need Democrats to pass the vote and advance the administration, as the House Democratic caucus is still weighing how to proceed with Johnson's work on Ukraine, Israel and a crucial three-part aid package. Taiwan hangs in the balance.

Democrats are still divided on the question, with some arguing that the party needs to overcome the bitter partisanship that has characterized this Congress to deliver critical aid to Ukraine, while others argue that Republicans should pass their own rules.

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“I mean, it's definitely another layer,” said the Democratic representative. Dan Gildy told CNN, “It's a ridiculous rule, and we know it, and you know whether it's doing the right thing at this point. The global security challenge is another question of whether we should try to free them from their politics.”

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Washington state Democrat, said she would not support the proposal to vacate the Republican administration, regardless of whether there were changes.

“I mean, I think they should have passed the regime on their own, but I thought from the beginning that Kevin McCarthy should never have agreed to that,” Jayapal said. “He sold his soul early on, and he thought he could control everyone.”

Representative Mike Quigley, a Democrat, said he supported the ruling and said he would consider supporting the impeachment motion if there was a change in how it worked.

“I think underperformance is everybody's problem. I'm open to whatever it takes for us to be efficient,” Quigley said.

Representative Jared Moskowitz, a Democrat, said leadership should weigh in before deciding whether to support such a change.

One thing hanging over the debates is that many Democrats see Johnson as a more honest broker than McCarthy. Although they disagree with him on many issues, they also believe that he has been a fair partner in the crucial moment of government funding and now providing this aid to Ukraine.

This story has been updated with additional updates.

CNN's Haley Talbot contributed to this report.

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