Marjorie Taylor Greene hedges on vote to oust the GOP’s speaker

by daciaromero184

After weeks of will-she-or-won’t-she questions, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene finally made her intentions clear last week. The right-wing Georgia Republican, who formally filed a motion to oust Speaker Mike Johnson 46 days ago, held a press conference to announce that she was moving forward with her plan against her own party’s leader.

“So next week, I am going to be calling this motion to vacate,” Greene told reporters six days ago. “Absolutely calling it.”

Perhaps “absolutely” was the wrong choice of words. NBC News reported:

After a nearly two-hour meeting with Speaker Mike Johnson, far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., emerged from his office and said the two will continue their discussions Tuesday morning amid her threats to force a vote to depose him. “We’re going to be meeting again tomorrow based on the discussion that we’ve had,” Greene said, standing in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall, though she did not elaborate on what she and the speaker discussed.

PunchBowl News soon after published a report with a headline that read, “Marjorie Taylor Greene slams on the brakes.”

This is not to say that the congresswoman has entirely given up on her anti-Johnson plot, but it’s fair to say that Greene is no longer sticking to the plan: She was expected to take the necessary procedural steps today, with a floor vote to follow soon after. As things stand, the future of that plan is, at a minimum, in doubt.

So what happens now? I don’t think anyone, including Greene, can say with certainty, though it was of interest to see Politico report that the right-wing congresswoman showed up for her two-hour meeting with Johnson with “a list of potential demands,” which included four provisions. Evidently, Greene wants:

  1. an end to U.S. aid for Ukraine;
  2. the GOP to bring back the so-called “Hastert Rule,” which would prevent Republican leaders from advancing legislation that lacks the support of most Republican members;
  3. an end to federal resources for special counsel Jack Smith’s investigations;
  4. and enforcement of the so-called “Massie Rule,” which Politico’s report said would force automatic spending cuts “if no superseding agreement is reached before a set deadline.”

For his part, Johnson doesn’t have a strong incentive to pay Greene’s ransom since she simply doesn’t have the votes to take his gavel away. That said, the Louisiana Republican would no doubt prefer to avoid a vote on his fate because it would likely leave him weakened, even if he prevails.

If Johnson wants to avoid a vote, and Greene is looking for a face-saving solution to the problem she created for herself, it increases the odds that the two will work something out.

If, on the other hand, Johnson is willing to call Greene’s bluff, and the Georgian wants to go through the motions to show the GOP’s far-right base how eager she is to fight the party’s “establishment,” the long-awaited vote might yet happen. Watch this space.

Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer for “The Rachel Maddow Show,” the editor of MaddowBlog and an MSNBC political contributor. He’s also the bestselling author of “The Impostors: How Republicans Quit Governing and Seized American Politics.”

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