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Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene files resolution to oust Mike Johnson as U.S. House speaker 

(Credit: Pennsylvania Capital-Star/C-SPAN)

Jacob Fischler, Pennsylvania Capital-Star
March 22, 2024

Georgia Republican U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene filed a resolution Friday to remove U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson from his position, using the same parliamentary measure that led to Johnson ascending to the speakership last year.

Following a bipartisan vote to approve the six remaining government spending bills for fiscal 2024, Greene filed a motion to vacate the office of the speaker of the House. The $1.2 trillion spending measure passed despite a slim majority of Republicans voting against it. House Republicans ousted Johnson’s predecessor, California’s Kevin McCarthy, over a similar situation.

“This is basically a warning,” Greene told reporters outside the Capitol after filing the motion. “It’s time for us to go through the process, take our time and find a new speaker of the House that will stand with Republicans and our Republican majority instead of standing with Democrats.”

Greene opted not to make the motion privileged, which would have forced a floor vote within days and scuttled a two-week recess set to begin Friday. House rules allow her to force a vote on the measure at any time.

Greene, a conservative who often antagonizes her party’s leadership, said she didn’t aim to “throw the House into chaos,” and wouldn’t put a time limit on her request.

But Greene indicated she will seek to evict Johnson at some point.

“I’m not saying that it won’t happen in two weeks or it won’t happen in a month or who knows when,” she said. “But I am saying the clock has started. It’s time for our conference to choose a new speaker.”

A spokesperson said Johnson will continue doing the job he was elected to do.

“Speaker Johnson always listens to the concerns of members, but is focused on governing,” Johnson spokesperson Raj Shah said in a statement. “He will continue to push conservative legislation that secures our border, strengthens our national defense and demonstrates how we’ll grow our majority.”

Second motion to vacate in five months 

Because the measure is not privileged, the chamber will not vote on it at least until members return from recess.

Republicans, who lost more than three weeks of governing as they sought to replace McCarthy after Florida’s Matt Gaetz and seven other Republicans forced his ouster in October, may not be enthusiastic about enduring another round of leadership uncertainty.

Republicans voted to make the previously little-known Johnson speaker last October after the chamber was virtually frozen following McCarthy’s removal.

Greene “made a big mistake,” Rep. Clay Higgins, Johnson’s fellow Louisiana Republican, said in a video posted to X.

“To think that one of our Republican colleagues would call for (Johnson’s) ouster right now is really, it’s abhorrent to me,” Higgins said. “I stand with Mike Johnson. He is maybe the only guy in history that could potentially perform and help us navigate these very dark and challenging times.”

But because of the conference’s razor-thin 219-213 majority in the House, only a handful of defections from Johnson could force him from office just months into his speakership. That edge could shrink further in coming weeks as Wisconsin’s Mike Gallagher said Friday he will leave office April 19.

If all Democrats vote to remove Johnson — as they did with McCarthy — only three other Republicans, or two after Gallagher leaves, voting with Greene would be enough to remove him. That would force the House to again pause its other business to select a new speaker and risk another acrimonious period of House GOP infighting as the party seeks to unify ahead of November elections.

McCarthy’s removal was the first time the House successfully vacated a speaker.

It resulted from a deal the California Republican made in January 2023 to mollify House conservatives skeptical of him as speaker. McCarthy accepted a rules package that allowed a single member to file a motion to vacate.

Jennifer Shutt and Ashley Murray contributed to this report.

Pennsylvania Capital-Star is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Pennsylvania Capital-Star maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Kim Lyons for questions: Follow Pennsylvania Capital-Star on Facebook and Twitter.

This article is republished from Pennsylvania Capital-Star under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.