Greene unveils plan to vote on Speaker Johnson ouster

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Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) on Wednesday announced she’ll force a vote next week on whether to oust Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), an extraordinary move highlighting the internal turmoil in the GOP.

But it’s also a move that is all but certain to fail after Democratic leaders said they would vote to protect the Speaker from her coup attempt.

Forcing a vote on the motion to vacate resolution — which Greene filed against Johnson more than a month ago — will compel the chamber to act on the measure within two legislative days.

“I think every member of Congress needs to take that vote and let the chips fall where they may. And so next week, I am going to be calling this motion to vacate,” Greene said Wednesday.

The announcement, made before a sea of reporters just outside the Capitol, followed weeks when Greene had attacked Johnson’s leadership style and threatened to remove him from power — but declined to force action on her motion-to-vacate resolution, leading to widespread speculation that she was backing away from the effort after Johnson received a glowing review from former President Trump.

Her decision to finally trigger a vote on the resolution came one day after the top three House Democrats announced that they would vote to table a motion to vacate if it came to the floor, joining a number of rank-and-file Democrats who have said for months that they’d shield Johnson from a conservative coup. 

Greene suggested the Democrats’ support was the impetus behind her decision to force the floor vote, and it lends fuel to her argument that Johnson is a Democrat at heart. Photos of Johnson and Jeffries were displayed behind their press conference, and the podium was plastered with a sign that read: “Hakeem Jeffries endorsed Mike Johnson the uniparty Speaker.”

But only two other Republicans — Reps. Thomas Massie (Ky.) and Paul Gosar (Ariz.) — have backed her effort, and a number of hardliners have come out against it.

Greene’s struggles to find GOP support for her effort — combined with the Democrats’ promise to rescue Johnson on the floor — means the Speaker will likely survive the removal effort. That’s a contrast from his predecessor, former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who was ousted by a different band of restive conservatives in October.  

Yet Democrats have also emphasized that their support for Johnson is specific to Greene’s ouster effort, suggesting they would not swoop in to rescue him again if another motion-to-vacate resolution emerges in the months remaining before November’s elections. 

Greene has sharply criticized Johnson for cutting a number of deals with Democrats on critical legislative matters, including funding the government, approving billions of dollars in aid for Ukraine and reauthorizing the U.S.’s warrantless surveillance powers. She filed the resolution as the House was voting on a sprawling spending package last month.

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