OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) reacted strongly to the news that scores of Biden administration staffers are planning a walkout in support of Gaza and to protest the president’s support of Israel’s war against Hamas.
In a statement posted to the X platform, Johnson wrote: “Any government worker who walks off the job to protest US support for our ally Israel is ignoring their responsibility and abusing the trust of taxpayers. They deserve to be fired.”
“Oversight Chairman Comer and I will be working together to ensure that each federal agency initiates appropriate disciplinary proceedings against any person who walks out on their job,” he added.
Feds United for Peace is the organization behind the planned walkout on Tuesday. Organizers said federal workers from 22 agencies are planning to take part in the protest.
The Post Millennial reported that the group had put up an Instagram page but only had a couple of posts. One instructed federal workers to “stay home from work on Tuesday.”
Further counseling staffers to participate in the “walkout,” the post states, “We ask that you give proper notification of your absence on January 16. We recommend that you notify your supervisor. You may explain it as a need to take a personal day if you prefer not to divulge your participation in the Day of Mourning.”
The group also claimed to have consulted with attorneys who advised the ‘walkout’ strategy is no violation of federal law.
AL-Monitor spoke to the organizers of the walkout, and they expect “easily hundreds” of staffers to participate.
The walkout “grew out of a collective desire to do what we could to influence the Biden administration’s policy on this issue,” one of the organizers said.
“What you’re seeing with this effort is something very unusual, and that is for dissent to be manifested via a physical act,” they said.
“This is not a strike. This is a day of mourning. The purpose is to provide space for ourselves to mourn and heal. We serve the American people every day and do so with conviction and pride,” organizers told Al-Monitor.
Won’t this be a violation of the Hatch Act? They deserve to be fired for dereliction of duty and acting political on official time. https://t.co/BVDuiOmAkJ
— JTTallman (@JTTallman) January 13, 2024
The outlet reported that participating staffers will include those from the Executive Office of the President, the National Security Agency, the Departments of State, Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs as well as US Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Naval Research Laboratory.
Last month, Johnson ripped the Biden White House for “going silent” on including a border crackdown as part of a new budget deal.
During an interview on Fox News with host Bret Baier, Johnson said that for the House to consider Biden’s request for additional aid to Ukraine, several conditions must be satisfied. The Biden administration’s plan to “prevail” in Ukraine, details on the current spending of military aid, and a “transformative change” to the nation’s border security are all part of the list of demands:
BAIER: “Are there significant steps that are happening, negotiations still going on with Secretary Mayorkas and others in the administration about changes?”
Johnson: “Well, I hope so. Look, I’ve been crystal clear about this. You know, if we are going to have a national security package of spending, national security begins at our own border. This is about our own sovereignty. These are policy changes that could be easily made but the White House has been very reluctant. They really went silent on us all of this time. I have been the speaker for a little over six weeks, almost seven weeks, and since the day I was handed the gavel, I have been saying that this was the condition, that we had to do this first. And we passed H.R. 2, the House passed our bill six months ago. It’s been sitting on the desk of Chuck Schumer ever since. They have not taken us seriously and here we are at the end of the year, and now they’re saying we’ve run out of time. It’s not the House’s fault.”