Economy

GOP rebels back off threat to force Johnson ouster vote this week as they seek deal

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Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., appears to be backing off her threat to force a vote on ousting Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., this week.

‘We’ve had discussions in the speaker’s office and right now the ball is in Mike Johnson’s court,’ Greene told reporters alongside Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., on Tuesday. 

The pair met with Johnson for roughly an hour and a half Tuesday after a two-hour meeting on Monday afternoon, where they outlined a list of demands for the speaker that included a pledge to not pass any more aid to Ukraine and de-funding Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into former President Trump.

They’re also seeking assurances that Johnson would not bring any bills to the floor without support from a majority of the House GOP conference, and commitments to cutting federal spending if a deal to fund the government in fiscal year 2025 is not reached by Sept. 30.

‘He understands that he’s got to be our Republican Speaker of the House. The things that we’ve discussed about, that got leaked out to the press, are very simple and they serve the American people. They serve the people that gave us the majority,’ Greene said.

It comes after Greene and Massie held a press conference last week announcing that they would aim to force a vote on their motion to vacate the chair this week. The motion to vacate is a procedural measure whereby, under current rules, just one lawmaker can call for a House-wide vote on the speaker’s removal.

But the pair would not give details on how they planned to move forward on Tuesday, nor if they would be meeting with Johnson again.

‘We didn’t give a specific timeline, but it’s pretty short,’ Greene told reporters when asked how long Johnson had to adhere to their demands, later adding that it would be ‘unrealistic’ to expect results right away.

Massie said that he communicated to Johnson, ‘If his plan is to drag this out until the pressure comes off of this, and to drag it out for weeks or days without making some movement in our direction, then he would just be far better off to have this vote and get it behind him. It doesn’t serve him or us to drag this out.’

‘But 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,’ he added later.

When pressed about if she expects a third meeting with Johnson, Greene said, ‘I expect to walk in his office and him to say, here’s my action items, here’s what I’m going to do. That requires a meeting, right?’

Johnson told reporters of his second meeting with the pair, ‘We’re talking through ideas and suggestions. It’s what I do with all members all the time. So there’s nothing unusual.’

Greene, Massie and Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., are the three lone Republicans actively pushing to oust Johnson in protest of his handling of foreign aid and government spending.

It’s the product of long-simmering concerns of conservatives who have felt sidelined by Johnson on critical pieces of legislation. They’ve accused him of not fighting hard enough for GOP priorities and instead acquiescing to the Democrat-controlled White House and Senate.

Johnson, for his part, has repeatedly emphasized that he’s operating with a historically slim majority – now just one seat – and in control of one half of one third of the government.

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