Marjorie Taylor Greene insists she doesn’t want ‘chaos’ after second threat to oust House Speaker

No Republicans have signed on to Greene’s effort to oust Mike Johnson from speaker’s chair

John Bowden
Washington DC
Monday 25 March 2024 16:48 GMT
Rep. Taylor Greene motions to out Speaker Johnson

Marjorie Taylor Greene has defended her bid to oust Republican House speaker, Mike Johnson - after threatening to do so in January - and insisted that she was not seeking to throw the government into “chaos”.

The Georgia representative and other far right members of the House opposed the $1.2trn federal spending package that passed Congress this past week, and claimed that it was full of wasteful spending.

She denounced Mr Johnson as “willing to do the bidding of [Senate Majority Leader] Chuck Schumer”.

“Republican voters want fighters in the House of Representatives to fight like President Trump, and that is exactly what I’m doing,” Ms Greene said.

However, no other Republicans have signed on her motion to vacate the speaker’s chair. Matt Gaetz, architect of the motion that removed former speaker Kevin McCarthy in October, said that he will likely not support the motion. A handful of Democrats also have indicated that they may vote to protect Mr Johnson.

On Sunday. Rep. Greene was asked by Fox News‘ Maria Bartiromo whether her measure was ill-timed in an interview with Sunday Morning Futures.

There have been a recent wave of resignations among Republican lawmakers including House members Ken Buck and Mike Gallagher. Their departures will leave the GOP with a single-vote majority in the lower chamber in the coming weeks.

Ms Greene denied that the House’s paralysis is due to far-right conservatives, or the second effort to oust a speaker in six months.

“Those people stepping down early and leaving, are the ones leaving us at risk of the Democrats controlling the majority, not me,” the congresswoman said.

She added: “I will force change. I’m not bringing chaos. I’m forcing change.”

She claimed Mr Johnson was “allowing” Wisconsin Rep. Gallagher to leave at the time of his choosing which, due to laws in his home state, means that his seat will be vacant for months.

However congressional rules mean that Mr Johnson cannot unilaterally expel Mr Gallagher or demand that his resignation take effect earlier.

Ms Greene has also opposed Mr Johnson’s decision to allow a vote on further aid for Ukraine’s defence against Russia, an issue she threatened to oust him over in January.

A number of Republicans have come out against Rep Greene’s latest move. Mike Lawler, a Republican from a New York swing district, called it “idiotic” on Friday.

Former house speaker Newt Gingrich did not address Ms Greene directly but said that Mr Gaetz had “unleashed the demons” when he led the ousting of Mr McCarthy.

“We shouldn’t underestimate how bad what Matt Gaetz did was for the whole system. He unleashed the demons, he went after somebody who would raise $480 million, had gained seats for three elections in a row, and he drove Kevin McCarthy out of office,” said Mr Gingrich, during an interview on Friday with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham.

“From that point on, it has been a disaster.”

Ms Greene would only need herself to support the motion to vacate if it were to have the support of a unified Democratic caucus, as the motion to oust Mr McCarthy did last year.

But that looks unrealistic. The Georgia Republican is not known to have many allies, even among her own GOP caucus.

Conservatives in the House saw their leverage against the House speaker grow when Republicans changed chamber rules to lower the number of members required to bring a motion to vacate. Since Mr McCarthy’s ouster, they have seen that influence recede as colleagues on both sides of the aisle appear weary with the inaction in the lower chamber. Business in the House froze completely for weeks last fall as Republicans were unable to select a new leader.

Mr McCarthy, meanwhile, has led a campaign against Republicans like Mr Gaetz and Rep Nancy Mace who supported his removal.

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