A senior Democrat said the House of Representatives will vote on the removal of Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene from its committees, heightening the stakes over Georgia Republicans’ online adoption of conspiracy theories and views. violent racists.
The announcement by House Democrat Steny Hoyer of Maryland came on Wednesday as clashes loomed over Greene and Representative Liz Cheney, who have antagonized the opposite wings of a Republican Party struggling to define itself without Donald Trump in the White House.
House Republicans, under bipartisan pressure to punish Greene, hoped to take action on their own, such as removing her from a committee, and avoiding a difficult political vote for many in the Republican Party.
But Hoyer issued a statement saying that after speaking with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California, “it is clear that there is no alternative to holding a vote on the floor on the resolution to impeach the Greene representative from his committee assignments. “
A McCarthy aide said he would discuss the situation with his Republican colleagues.
A full House vote would be a political test for many Republicans, forcing them to defend or punish a social media savvy lawmaker who has earned Trump’s enthusiastic support.
Republicans had appointed Greene to the Education and Labor Committee, a decision that drew especially harsh criticism for his suggestions that the Connecticut and Florida school shootings could be hoaxes. She is also on the Budget Committee.
The House Rules Committee, led by Democrats, met Wednesday in an initial step to remove Greene from its committees, an unusual step for Congress.
It’s unusual for party leaders to strip legislators of committee assignments, which can help them address the needs of their districts and collect campaign contributions.
In 2019, Republican House leaders removed Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, who had a history of racist comments, from the Agriculture and Judiciary panels after making comments in a newspaper about white supremacy. He lost the Republican primary for his seat in 2020 and is out of Congress.
McCarthy met for 90 minutes late Tuesday with Greene, R-Georgia, and his aides said little about the outcome. The far-right freshman burst onto the national political scene after using social media to endorse outlandish conspiracy theories and violent and racist views.
“The best thing that could happen right now is for Kevin McCarthy to make it clear that she shouldn’t be” on the education committee, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, DN.Y., a member of her party leadership, told reporters. Jeffries said if McCarthy doesn’t act, “we will be prepared to move on.”
Greene showed little sign of backing down. “No matter what @GOPLeader does, it would never be enough for America-hating Democrats,” he tweeted Wednesday morning.
Meanwhile, House Republicans planned a closed-door meeting later Wednesday in which Cheney’s political fate could be decided. The GOP’s farthest right wing was eager to oust Cheney, of Wyoming, from her position as the No. 3 Republican in the House of Representatives after she voted last month to impeach Trump.
Cheney is the leader of her party’s traditional conservatives and is the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney.
The dispute underscores Republican fissures as the party seeks a way forward two weeks after Trump left office as the only president twice accused. House Republicans are effectively deciding whether to prioritize the former president’s rule-breaking behavior and conspiracy theories and retain the loyalty of their voters over more established conservative values.
Greene and Cheney’s handling presented a tricky balancing act for McCarthy. The eight-term lawmaker hopes to become president if Republicans win a House majority in the 2022 election and has little interest in antagonizing fellow Republicans.
Penalizing Cheney for what she called his “vote of conscience” in impeachment would be awkward without also punishing Greene. Action against either ran the risk of angering the Republican Party’s many Trump supporters or his more traditional conservative supporters.
“You can’t just do the normal political song and dance and appease this side a little bit and appease that side a little bit,” said former Rep. Mark Sanford, RS.C., who lost a party primary in 2018 after colliding with Trump. “The whole nature of the Trump phenomenon is that there is no appeasement.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, was putting pressure on McCarthy.
McConnell issued a statement praising Cheney as “a leader with deep convictions and courage.” In another statement not using Greene’s name, McConnell, generally circumspect, called his “crazy lies” a “cancer” in the Republican Party. His comments were the latest indication of his concern about allowing the more pro-Trump and hard-right Republican factions to gain too much dominance in the party.
On social media, Greene has voiced support for racist views, unfounded conspiracy theories from pro-Trump QAnon and calls for violence against Democratic politicians, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
McCarthy has not aggressively criticized Greene, who was dubbed a “future Republican star” by Trump last summer and remains a staunch Trump supporter.
McCarthy has been around Trump for a long time. But he has been criticized by some Republicans, mostly quietly, for relentlessly supporting Trump’s fallacious claims of a rigged election in November and for failing to vigorously criticize Trump for helping spark the deadly January 6 attack on Capitol Hill by part of his supporters.
Cheney’s enemies have said they have enough votes to force her to remove Cheney from her leadership position.
But on Wednesday it was unclear if that vote among Republican lawmakers would come about or if McCarthy would somehow delay that showdown. McCarthy has said he supports Cheney, but also has “concerns,” so his stance on her is unclear.
Rep. Matt Rosendale, R-Mont., A leader in the effort to oust Cheney, says he has enough support to be successful.
“She caused this to herself,” Rosendale said.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism