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House squashes Marjorie Taylor Greene’s motion to oust Speaker Johnson

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The House of Representatives squashed an effort by Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., and Thomas Massie, R-Ky., to force a House-wide vote on Speaker Mike Johnson’s ouster.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., appeared to catch most congressional watchers by surprise when she moved to force a vote on her motion to vacate the chair, the procedural move that would allow for the vote. She noticed her resolution as ‘privileged,’ meaning House leaders had two legislative days to take it up.

But her bluff was called immediately when House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., rose to call for a vote on tabling Greene’s motion – which effectively kills it before the vote on Johnson’s ouster itself.

Johnson got overwhelming Democratic and Republican support for the table vote, which passed 359 to 43, averting a vote on her motion. Just 11 Republicans voted against tabling the measure, along with 32 Democrats.

On the Republican side, Johnson won the support of 196 members, while 163 Democrats also voted to shield him.

The House GOP side of the chamber erupted in cheers when her move was squashed.

‘I want to say that I appreciate the show of confidence from my colleagues to defeat this misguided effort. That is certainly what it was,’ Johnson told reporters after the vote. ‘I’ve said from the beginning, and I’ve made clear here every day, I intend to do my job. I intend to do what I believe to be the right thing, which is what I was elected to do. And I’ll let the chips fall where they may.’

Greene, R-Ga., declined to say if she planned to force another vote but accused Johnson of being aligned with Democrats after they helped save his job.

‘That’s not something that I’ve said,’ she said when asked if she would try a repeat. ‘I think today it has proven the uniparty is alive as well. And the Democrats now control Speaker Johnson. That was something that everybody suspected all along. They just voted to save him. And I think that’s the message.’

Greene has been threatening to force a vote on taking Johnson’s gavel since late March in protest of his handling of government funding and foreign aid. .

Her resolution, known as a motion to vacate the chair, will now have to be voted on or tabled after Greene noticed it as ‘privileged’ on Wednesday night – meaning House leaders have two legislative days to take it up.

The Republican side of the House chamber erupted in boos as Greene listed off her gripes against Johnson, prompting Democrat Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., to shout, ‘The House is not in order – and is about to fall into chaos,’ prompting some sparse laughs from their side of the chamber.

The vote is expected to be close but ultimately fail, with both Republicans and Democrats voicing opposition to a move that would effectively paralyze Congress until a new speaker is found.

The vote is a culmination of six months’ worth of frustration from the most right-wing conservatives in Johnson’s conference, who have felt sidelined by him on nearly all critical legislation including foreign aid and government funding, during which they demanded he leverage a government shutdown to force the Democrats who controlled the Senate and White House to pass Republican policies.

Greene’s push got two more backers in Reps. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., and Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., after Johnson ushered a foreign aid bill along bipartisan lines that includes $61 billion for Ukraine.

But it’s largely fallen flat among the House GOP, where even Johnson’s critics have shown little appetite for going through another three weeks of chaos like what followed the ouster of ex-Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., in October – particularly six months out from an election.

With just a razor-thin majority of two seats, it would take little dissent for Johnson to lose the top House job if it fell along party lines. Eight House Republicans had voted with all Democrats to oust McCarthy in early October. 

Unlike McCarthy’s case, however, House Democrats have pledged to come to Johnson’s aid by voting to table the resolution if it came up – a vote to table a measure, which essentially kills it, is a procedural hurdle that allows Democrats to block Johnson’s ouster without having to actually vote on whether to fire him.

Johnson’s critics seized on the left-wing support as evidence that the Louisiana Republican was not representing the interests of his own party.

‘The entire Democrat Party is lining up behind Mike Johnson. First, it was the entire leadership team for the Democrats. Now, Nancy Pelosi, who impeached President Trump TWICE, has given Johnson her seal of approval. What deal has been made??’ Greene wrote on X on Monday along with a video of Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., backing House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries’ decision to help Johnson.

The move could save Johnson’s job, but could also cost him some Republican support.

Massie told Fox News Digital last week when asked about how much GOP backing he expected, ‘I think it’s a kinetic situation. And Hakeem and the entire Democrat leadership team endorsing Mike Johnson is going to cause a lot of people who weren’t with us, to be with us.’

Johnson, for his part, has repeatedly told reporters that he’s not afraid of Greene’s threats and has insisted his focus is on governing.

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