Greene signals possible off-ramp for Johnson ouster vote

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Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) huddled Monday for almost two hours with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) — a marathon meeting suggesting the pair is seeking a deal to defuse tensions and preclude floor action on the Georgia firebrand’s resolution to boot Johnson from power.

The two emerged from the Speaker’s office separately but bearing the same message: The discussion was constructive enough that they’ve agreed to meet again Tuesday morning. 

Greene declined to say if she was ready to push through with her plan to force her motion to vacate resolution to the floor, but suggested she is seeking some assurances from the Speaker that he’ll fight harder for conservative policy priorities in negotiations with Democrats — the issue at the heart of both her criticisms and her removal effort.

“I have been patient, I have been diligent, I have been steady, and I have been focused on the facts. And none of that has changed,” Greene, who was joined by Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), another supporter of her resolution, told reporters after the meeting. 

“So I just had a long discussion with the Speaker in his office about ways to move forward for a Republican-controlled House of Representatives. We’re talking to him again tomorrow, based on our discussion today.”  

The comments are a departure from last week when the Georgia Republican was adamant that she would move to force a vote on Johnson’s ouster this week, underscoring the importance of putting her conservative colleagues on the record regarding whether they support the Speaker.

“Next week I am going to be calling this motion to vacate,” Greene declared at a press conference alongside Massie, one of only two Republicans backing her effort. “Absolutely calling it.”

“If this vote fails and the whole conference, the whole Congress, 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,” Greene later added. “They deserve that list.”

But the Georgia Republican requested Monday’s meeting with Johnson and said she would huddle with him again on Tuesday, a signal that she is considering an off-ramp from her weeks-long motion to vacate threat.

Johnson also addressed reporters briefly after the meeting, saying he understands his critics’ policy concerns but emphasized the limitations of advancing them in a government where Democrats control the Senate and White House.  

“I’ve said this repeatedly, that I understand the frustration, I share it. I would really like to advance much more of our conservative policy on a daily basis here,” Johnson said. “But the reality is we are working with the smallest majority in U.S. history, with a one-vote margin. It makes it very difficult to, using my football metaphor as I often do, to throw touchdown passes on every single play.”

“We’re gonna keep this team together and working for the American people.”

Greene filed her removal resolution more than a month ago and has dangled it over Johnson’s head since then.

The Georgia Republican has hammered Johnson for cutting a number of legislative deals with Democrats, including legislation to fund the government, a bill to reauthorize the U.S.’s warrantless surveillance powers and, most recently, a foreign aid package that included billions for dollars for Ukraine.

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