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Marjorie Taylor Greene’s red line on Speaker Johnson

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., wants to dump House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La. 

She authored a resolution to force the House to take a vote of no confidence in the speaker.

‘I do not wish to inflict pain on our conference and to throw the House in chaos. But this is basically a warning,’ said Greene. 

Greene railed at Johnson for negotiating spending bills with Democrats and forgoing the GOP’s internal rule, requiring 72 hours before voting on legislation.

Greene might not succeed in her effort to topple Johnson. Especially since Republicans just tried this stunt in the fall.

‘Johnson benefits from the terrible example that was set several months ago when (former House Speaker Kevin) McCarthy, R-Calif., was ousted,’ said David Cohen, a political scientist at the University of Akron. ‘It was utter chaos. The House was completely dysfunctional. I don’t know if there’s an appetite, even among those in the right flank of the Republican Party, to go through that process again.’

This is why many Republicans loathe a repeat of last fall’s pandemonium.

‘This whole episode of removing speakers and threatening speakers does nobody any good except the Democrat Party,’ Rep. Carlos Gimenez, R-Fla., said on Fox Business. 

This internecine fighting is partly what prompted some Republicans to quit early as Johnson tries to mend the threadbare GOP majority.

‘We’ve got to unify when you have such a small majority,’ Johnson implored on Fox. ‘I think people feel the gravity and the weight of this. The importance of it.’

But as the House Republican majority dwindles to a single vote, it wouldn’t take much for things to go haywire. Especially if Greene is intent on forcing her colleagues to vote on removing Johnson.

‘The majority is so narrow that if a couple of Republicans don’t show up or decide not to vote, you could end up with the Democrats in charge of the House,’ said Cohen. 

Former Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., left two weeks ago before his term expired in January.

Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., planned to retire in January, but he’s out the door by mid-month.

If more GOP members make Irish exits, Johnson concedes a flip of power for the House of Representatives before the election isn’t out of the question. That would potentially earn House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., a promotion.

‘Look, that’s a risk. But I don’t think that’s going to happen,’ Johnson told Fox. ‘Hakeem is not going to be the speaker.’

But lawmakers are exasperated at the infighting. Mayhem gripped the House for months over various spending bills and multiple flirtations with potential government shutdowns. Scrapes over who should be House speaker test the patience of members.

‘It’s absolutely possible that, before the end of the year is out, the Democrats may seize control of the House of Representatives,’ said Cohen. 

So, lawmakers are struggling to figure things out.

‘What you’re seeing is an inflection point for the institution,’ said Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas. ‘And are we going to make this institution work again?’

Roy criticized Republican leaders on the spending bills. But he also flagged Republican colleagues who are willing to punt to the election and bank on former President Trump returning to the White House as a salve to the nation’s ills.

Roy wants Congress to legislate. And do it now.

‘Why the hell are you in Congress? We’re actually supposed to be more important than the president of the United States. That’s why we’re Article One (of the Constitution). But we’re too chicken to use the power,’ Roy excoriated during a floor speech. 

Roy’s not the only one perturbed about the House. Buck departed early because he was also incensed with his colleagues. But for different reasons. 

‘I’m not comfortable with how this institution is structured,’ said Buck. 

Buck was one of three House Republicans who bucked their party on the impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Their resistance sunk impeachment on the first try. However, the GOP-controlled House took a mulligan and impeached Mayorkas a week later after House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., returned from cancer treatments. 

Buck argued that Republicans abused impeachment. He’s suspicious about the motives of his former colleagues.

‘A lot of them are here because they got here by throwing bombs. And they’re going to stay by throwing bombs,’ said Buck.

Like Buck, Gallagher also opposed impeaching Mayorkas.

‘It’s getting harder to get stuff done,’ said Gallagher. ‘I think you see a lot of members frustrated with that.’

Gallagher says there’s one thing he won’t miss.

‘Fundraising,’ said Gallagher. ‘I hate fundraisers. It’s weird, and it dominates so much of people’s time here. And I think it takes away from the actual serious business of legislating.’

Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., chairs the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC). That’s the House GOP’s official campaign arm.

‘When you see a lot of senior people with a lot of good experience leaving, you know, it’s still kind of disappointing,’ said Hudson. 

But he notes that more Democrats are retiring than Republicans.

‘We don’t have a single retirement in a competitive seat. Whereas the Democrats have more retirements than we do. And seven of their retirements are in seats that we’re going to pick up,’ said Hudson. 

That might be the case in November. But what about now? And does Johnson cling to power?

Fox is told the House won’t put a Ukraine aid bill on the floor right away. It’s likely the House first tackles a reauthorization of Section 702 of FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Lawmakers from both sides demand significant reforms to protect Americans. 

Law enforcement and the intelligence community insist the program is essential to protect the U.S. But there are concerns that the government used Section 702 to eavesdrop on Americans. It’s only supposed to intercept communications of foreign nationals. The program goes dark April 19. So expect the House to wrestle with that before Ukraine. 

But if Johnson turns to Ukraine, does Greene lower the boom? 

It’s possible that Johnson survives – with the help of Democrats. Democrats either use Ukraine as leverage. Or as a way to secure some buy-in.

‘He’s going to need to rely on Democrats for support,’ said Cohen. ‘He’s going to have to cut some deals.’

Democrats didn’t help McCarthy survive last fall. But the calculus could be different for Johnson. Especially if Ukraine is involved.

If the House votes to remove the speaker, who knows who Republicans would tap to succeed him? Republicans burned through three other speaker candidates after they sidelined McCarthy. The tumult of another speaker vacancy would bubble over in the House. That means more members could bolt. That would spark an unprecedented level of chaos.

And you thought things were bad before.

It all hinges on Ukraine. 

And despite Greene’s efforts, she might fall short on both of her goals. 

It’s about the math.

Johnson might have the votes to stay. And the House likely has more than 300 votes to approve a bill to assist Ukraine.

But the House may need to wade through another round of bedlam first. 

This post appeared first on FOX NEWS

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