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Politics

Gop’s Marjorie Taylor Greene Delivers Fresh Threats of Ousting Speaker Johnson in Scathing Rebuke

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hard-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene escalated her criticism Tuesday of House Speaker Mike Johnson, blistering his leadership in a lengthy letter to colleagues and renewing threats of a snap vote that could remove him from office.

As lawmakers returned to work from a two-week spring recess, the fresh onslaught from the Georgia congresswoman dragged the still-new speaker back into the Republican chaos that has defined GOP House control and threatens to grind work to a halt. Johnson may very well be unable to execute the basics of his job.

“Today, I sent a letter to my colleagues explaining exactly why I filed a motion to vacate against Speaker Johnson,” Greene said on social media about the procedural tool that could force the quick vote.

Greene in stark terms warned Johnson not to reach across the aisle to Democrats for votes he would need to pass pending legislation that hard-right Republicans oppose, particularly aid to Ukraine. That aid package as well as other agenda items are in grave doubt.

“I will not tolerate this type of Republican ‘leadership,’” wrote Greene, a top ally of presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump, in the five-page letter first reported by The New York Times.

The standoff threatens to mire the House in another standstill, saddling the Republican majority with a do-nothing label after months of turmoil that has sent some seasoned lawmakers heading for the exits.

It comes during what is typically a springtime legislative push in Congress to notch a few priorities before lawmakers turn their attention toward the November election campaigns.

For Johnson, who took the helm just six months ago after the House ousted Kevin McCarthy from the speaker’s post, it is political payback for his efforts to keep government running by compromising with Democrats on must-past legislation to fund federal operations and prevent a shutdown.

Partnership with Democrats is about the only way Johnson can pass any bills in the face of a thin majority and staunch resistance from his right flank. He can lose barely more than a single Republican from his ranks on most votes.

Greene, who had filed the motion to vacate the speaker before lawmakers left for spring break in March, has stopped short of saying she would call it up for the vote, letting the threat of removal hanging over the speaker.

“I don’t have a red line or a trigger or a date or a deadline,” Greene said later Tuesday evening as lawmakers returned to the Capitol.

“This is a process,” she said. “I don’t want it to be horribly painful or like it was the last time. And I want us to do the right thing and actually elect a Republican speaker that’s ready to be speaker.”

Other Republicans, even some of the eight who voted to oust McCarthy, the California Republican who has since retired from Congress, have cooled on Greene’s effort, trying to prevent another spectacle. McCarthy’s ouster left the House essentially shuttered for almost a month last fall as Republicans argued over a new leader.

And Democrats led by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York have signaled they may lend their votes to Johnson, a courtesy they did not extend to McCarthy, which could save the Louisiana Republican’s job in a bipartisan effort to keep the House open and functioning.

A leader of the effort to oust McCarthy, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., said while he is frustrated by Johnson’s leadership, “I still don’t want to hand the House of Representatives over to Hakeem Jeffries.”

Rep. Matt Rosendale, R-Mont., who also voted against McCarthy, said he doesn’t want to go through that process again. “I just don’t see what we could gain,” he said.

But Greene, during a rousing town hall late Monday in her home district in Georgia and in the scathing letter delivered Tuesday as lawmakers returned to work, left clear the threat that persists if Johnson seeks any partnership with Democrats.

In the letter, she outlined the promises she said Johnson made to Republicans during the fight to become speaker, and listed ways she said he had broken them — for example, by passing the spending bills needed to fund the government with existing policies many Republicans oppose, or by failing to include legislation with Republican proposals for securing the U.S.-Mexico border.

”This has been a complete and total surrender to, if not complete and total lockstep with, the Democrats’ agenda that has angered our Republican base so much and given them very little reason to vote for a Republican House majority,” she wrote.

At the Capitol, she said it is Johnson who has thrown the House into “chaos” by partnering with Democrats.

___
By LISA MASCARO AP Congressional Correspondent

Associated Press writer Kevin Freking contributed to this report.

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