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‘It’s up to Mike Johnson’: Marjorie Taylor Greene again stalls vote on U.S. House speaker


‘It’s up to Mike Johnson’: Marjorie Taylor Greene again stalls vote on U.S. House speaker

May 07, 2024 | 4:00 pm ET
By Jennifer Shutt Ariana Figueroa
‘It’s up to Mike Johnson’: Marjorie Taylor Greene again stalls vote on U.S. House speaker
U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, center, and Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky, right, both Republicans, speak to reporters on the steps of the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, May 7, 2024. (Photo by Jennifer Shutt/States Newsroom)

WASHINGTON — Georgia Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene and Kentucky’s Thomas Massie left a meeting with U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson on Tuesday, saying the “ball is in his court” on whether they hold a floor vote to remove him from leadership.

Greene filed the so-called motion to vacate in late March and has been using it as leverage ever since to try to get Johnson to move further to the right and not put certain bills on the House floor for up-or-down votes.

Last week, Greene said she would call for a vote this week on kicking Johnson out of the speaker’s office, but after meeting with him for two hours on Monday and 90 minutes on Tuesday, she said it’s up to him whether she calls for a floor vote.

“It’s really simple. It’s up to Mike Johnson to be our Republican speaker,” Greene said. “And we’ll see what he does. And again, it’s actions for me. I do not care what words he says.”

Greene declined to say what her deadline may be for Johnson to comply with her four proposed changes, but she noted it’s “pretty short.” She declined to say if there would be more meetings with the speaker.

Massie said Johnson shouldn’t prolong agreeing to the four suggestions from him and Greene.

“If it does become obvious that he’s just trying to drag this out, we’ll do him a favor, we’ll do you a favor, we’ll do the GOP a favor and we’ll call this motion to vacate,” Massie said.

Any vote to remove Johnson is likely to fail, since House Democratic leaders announced last month they would support keeping him as speaker.

Four demands for the speaker

Greene, speaking on Steve Bannon’s livestreamed show before the meeting, said she had four requirements that Johnson must meet if he wants her to set aside the motion to vacate.

He must:

  •  Agree not to hold floor votes on additional aid to Ukraine amid its ongoing fight against Russia’s invasion;
  • Agree not to hold floor votes on bills that don’t have the support of a majority of the chamber’s 217 Republicans;
  • Defund the Department of Justice’s special counsel; and
  • Agree to move a 1% spending cut if Congress doesn’t approve all dozen of the annual government funding measures before the Oct. 1 deadline.

Efforts to eliminate funding for the special counsel who has been investigating former President Donald Trump and the proposals to force an automatic spending cut are highly unlikely to make it through the Democratic-controlled Senate or gain President Joe Biden’s approval.

Greene said on Bannon’s show that she isn’t willing to negotiate with Johnson on those issues.

“I have high expectations and they have to be met in full,” Greene said. “There is no middle ground. There is no compromise.”

Following the meeting, Johnson said he’s working through some of the ideas and suggestions from Greene.

“That’s part of the process here,” the Louisiana Republican said. “I’m optimistic that we can get to some resolutions on all that.”

He did not go into details, but said, “they’ve been very productive discussions.”