• May 23, 2024

Taylor-Greene and Massie Prepare Force Speaker Johnson Expulsion Vote Next Week

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Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) received the endorsement of House Democrat Leadership on Tuesday, which he will soon have to leverage.

Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Thomas Massie (R-KY) declared at a crowded press conference outside the Capitol on Wednesday that they would push for a vote on Greene’s motion to vacate “next week.”

Standing in front of the Capitol dome, Greene and Massie accused Johnson of three betrayals related to government funding, surveillance of American citizens, and funding for Ukraine without prioritizing border security.

While this move was anticipated, Wednesday’s events highlight the challenging path ahead for Johnson in maintaining his leadership position — not just in the immediate future, but also beyond November.

Mike Johnson

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Greene explained her initial hopes when filing and why she waited more than six weeks to force a vote on her motion.

“I was being conscious and caring about my conference in our majority. It was a warning to stop serving the Democrats and support our Republican conference and support our agenda. And he didn’t do it.”

After Greene submitted her motion, Johnson went on to reauthorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) by casting the deciding vote to eliminate the warrant requirement. He then shifted his position on Ukraine funding.

“Now we have Hakeem Jeffries and the Democrats coming out, embracing Mike Johnson with a warm hug and a big wet sloppy kiss,” Greene said, arguing Democrats endorsed Johnson “because Mike Johnson is giving them everything they want. Everything. Every single thing.”

Hakeem Jeffries and Mike Johnson

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries hands newly elected House Speaker Mike Johnson the gavel at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, on October 25, 2023. (TOM BRENNER/AFP via Getty Images)

She complained that Republicans under Johnson have rejected the demands of the voters who sent them to Washington. “We won the house in 2022,” she said, “but what have we done with it? What are we giving Republican voters to vote for?”

Greene’s opinion is that if Johnson continues as speaker, it will not only lead to Republicans losing control of the House but also pose a threat to the future agenda of a potential Trump administration, similar to how establishment Republicans did during Trump’s first term.

“The Republican establishment under Paul Ryan failed President Trump and failed the agenda that we wanted to get done,” she recalled. “They passed a $1.3 trillion omnibus that did not fund the wall after we had stood at Trump rally after Trump rally and said, ‘Build the wall.’”

During one of the press conference’s most memorable moments, Greene attacked Johnson for embracing the “business model of Washington, DC, to fund forever wars,” claiming the mantra of “the uniparty is ‘make Ukraine great again.’”

Pulling out a blue cap with “MUGA” across the front to contrast Trump’s iconic red MAGA hat, she said, “Our economy should not be built on the blood of wars in foreign countries. That’s not what our economy should be built on. That’s not how you grow jobs in America.”

marjorie taylor greene

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) holds up a hat that says “MUGA” or “Make Ukraine Great Again” as she speaks at a news conference alongside Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) at the U.S. Capitol Building on May 1, 2024, in Washington, DC. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Massie refuted what he characterized as “Republican establishment” lies playing into Jeffries’ hand and that forcing a vote is futile since Jeffries will “save Johnson’s bacon.”

“We didn’t get elected to make excuses,” he said. “We didn’t get elected to say we shouldn’t even try. We got elected to come here and give it our best and also to impose transparency.”

Massie was also not ready to come to terms with the certainty of the vote’s result.

“I’m actually not going to concede that the vote will fail,” he said. “I think Hakeem had to step out in front and get in front of this freight train because he was afraid he didn’t have enough Democrats who would save Mike Johnson.”

Greene emphasized that the outcome of the vote would be a win for the American people regardless of its result.

“If this vote fails, and the whole conference… supports the uniparty, let me tell you something, that is not a failure. It’s a win for the American people because that’s a list of names.”

Several Republicans have expressed discomfort at the idea of another three-week stalemate without a speaker, but Greene maintained that the conference has individuals ready to take on the role.

“I’m not naming names, but I think we have people that are capable,” she said, suggesting she would support “anybody that’s willing to fight for our agenda, anyone that refuses to share the power with Hakeem Jeffries.”

“That’s something that we’re capable of doing — if we decide to do it.”

Initiating a motion to vacate a vote necessitates the House to consider the motion within 48 hours. It is anticipated that Johnson will promptly propose a vote to set aside the motion.

Greene and Massie did not specify the exact day they plan to take action.

Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ) has also aligned with their initiative, with the trio anticipating further support.

Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., questions Acting U.S. Park Police Chief Gregory T. Monahan, during a House Natural Resources Committee hearing on actions taken on June 1, 2020 at Lafayette Square, Tuesday, July 28, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Bill Clark/Pool via AP)

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) (Bill Clark/Pool via AP)

“If anyone is scared of where they’re going to vote on a motion to table or if it goes further, ten they don’t belong,” Greene said. “They have to be ready to do the hard job.”

Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH) informed CNN on Wednesday that he planned to oppose tabling Greene’s motion but was uncertain about his stance on the motion to vacate.

He stated, “I think a privileged question deserves an answer.”

Greene and Massie are aiming for Johnson’s resignation prior to the vote, with Massie urging House Republican leaders to persuade him to step down for the party’s benefit.

Greene and Massie are both hoping for Johnson’s resignation before a vote. Massie has gone as far as urging other members of House Republican leadership to join him in encouraging Johnson to step down for the benefit of the party.

“He deserves a weekend to think about if he should resign because he knows what’s coming next week,” Massie said.

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