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Greene Says She Will Demand Vote Next Week on Removing Johnson

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia said on Wednesday that she would demand a vote next week on a motion to remove Speaker Mike Johnson, moving forward in the face of all but certain defeat with a second attempt during this Congress to depose a Republican speaker.

In a morning news conference at the Capitol, Ms. Greene excoriated Mr. Johnson for working with Democrats to push through major legislation and said it was time for lawmakers to go on the record about where they stood on his speakership.

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

The move comes just over a week after Mr. Johnson pushed through a long-stalled $95 billion package to aid Israel, Ukraine and other U.S. allies over the objections of Ms. Greene and other right-wing Republicans who staunchly opposed sending additional aid to Kyiv.

And it came one day after House Democratic leaders said they would vote to block the effort to remove Mr. Johnson, which would give Republicans more than enough backing to kill Ms. Greene’s motion before it could be considered.

Still, House rules allow any one lawmaker to raise the challenge and force a vote on it within two legislative days, the same mechanism that right-wing Republicans used last fall to make Kevin McCarthy of California the first speaker in history to be removed from the post.

In that case, Democrats joined with the Republican rebels in voting against Mr. McCarthy, a standard practice of the minority party that by definition wants its own top leader as speaker. But this time, Representative Hakeem Jeffries, Democrat of New York and the minority leader, has said his party would join a Republican bid to table, or kill, Ms. Greene’s motion.

Ms. Greene’s effort has struggled to gain momentum in the month and a half since she filed the motion to vacate the speaker’s chair, saying it was a warning shot to Mr. Johnson after he cut a deal with Democrats on a $1.2 trillion government spending bill that passed over the objections of right-wing Republicans. Only two other Republicans, Representatives Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Paul Gosar of Arizona, have publicly backed the move so far, though Ms. Greene and Mr. Massie said on Wednesday that they had privately heard support from more colleagues.

In the aftermath of the Ukraine aid vote, Ms. Greene delayed acting, saying that she wanted to “let my colleagues go home and hear from their constituents,” and predicting that more Republicans would join her bid to get rid of Mr. Johnson after getting an earful from irate voters. Instead, many of them heard just the opposite and returned to Washington this week voicing skepticism about removing the speaker.

On Wednesday, she said she had given Mr. Johnson multiple chances to avoid a motion to vacate, and he had squandered them.

“I was controlled; I was responsible,” she said. “I was being conscious and caring about my conference and 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.”

In a hastily issued statement, Mr. Johnson condemned the move.

“This motion is wrong for the Republican conference, wrong for the institution and wrong for the country,” the speaker said.

He has said the effort was misguided and would not drive his decisions as speaker.

“I don’t spend a lot of time concerning myself with it, and I think it’s a distraction,” Mr. Johnson said in an interview on Sunday. “We have a job to do here. And I think that the vast majority of my colleagues understand that as well. And I don’t think that a dispute over policy issues or questions should result in the speaker being removed.”

In an expletive-laden tirade on Wednesday, Ms. Greene savaged Mr. Johnson, saying he had been ineffective in advancing the ultraconservative agenda that she and other far-right allies hoped to achieve when Republicans took control of the House with a slim majority in the 2022 midterm elections.

“Mike Johnson is not capable of that job; he has proven it over and over again,” she said. “Now we have Hakeem Jeffries and the Democrats coming out, embracing Mike Johnson with a warm hug and a big, wet, sloppy kiss.”

Some of Ms. Greene’s colleagues echoed her frustration over the inability to advance significant conservative legislation but said they were wary of throwing the chamber into another period of chaos, like the one that paralyzed the House for weeks after Mr. McCarthy’s ouster.

“The bottom line is, I didn’t want to go down this road last fall — as is well documented — I don’t want to go down this road right now,” Representative Chip Roy, Republican of Texas, told reporters on Tuesday. “But at the end of the day, the legislation that we’ve been moving forward is not what our folks sent us here to do. So now we’ve got to figure out what does that mean between now and November.”

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