Marjorie Taylor Greene Fires Another Warning Shot at Johnson

Marjorie Taylor Greene Fires Another Warning Shot at Johnson


House Republican lawmakers returned from their two-week recess Tuesday and resumed their chaotic infighting right where they left off.

Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who 18 days ago issued a threat to oust Mike Johnson as House speaker, renewed her call to remove the GOP leader and escalated her attacks in a scathing letter to colleagues that accused him of violating conference rules and surrendering to Democrats.

Greene argued that Johnson has abandoned the principles he laid out when he won the gavel and has broken promises to conservative voters. “Mike Johnson has unfortunately not lived up to a single one of his self-imposed tenets,” she wrote in her letter.

Greene’s five-page diatribe runs through a litany of complaints about Johnson’s actions as speaker, but much of her criticism centers on the spending packages that Johnson pushed through last month, avoiding a government shutdown and setting full-year appropriations via a process that relied on Democratic support: “Allowing us one day, rather than 72 hours, to review a 1000-plus page bill to which no amendments could be offered was not ‘ensuring total transparency, open processes, and regular order.’ Relying on majority Democrat support to pass a two-part omnibus was not ‘advancing a policy agenda supported by Conference consensus.’”

Greene also accuses Johnson of fully funding the Biden administration’s agenda, from the border to climate measures to the Justice Department and FBI, rather than fighting for Republican priorities. “As a matter of fact, there is little daylight between Nancy Pelosi’s omnibus in the 117th Congress and Mike Johnson’s omnibus in the 118th Congress,” she claimed, adding, “Mike Johnson worked with Chuck Schumer rather than with us, and gave Joe Biden and the Democrats everything they wanted—no different from how a Speaker Hakeem Jeffries would have done.”

Greene’s latest warning shot comes as returning lawmakers must contend with a packed agenda that includes a contentious reauthorization of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and providing additional funding for Ukraine. Johnson has indicated that he is preparing a House alternative to a $95 billion foreign aid package passed by the Senate, which included $60 billion for Ukraine. In her letter, Greene also criticized Johnson for flip-flopping from opposing more aid to Ukraine to calling it a top priority.

Why it matters: “Ms. Greene’s letter appeared aimed largely at making the speaker squirm over the Ukraine aid bill, which he has agonized over — first refusing to take it up but more recently bowing to entreaties by Mr. Biden, Democrats, other Republicans and world leaders to do so,” Annie Karni of The New York Times says.

It’s not clear, though, when Greene might force a vote on her motion to oust Johnson, or whether she has any support from fellow Republicans in her revolt against the speaker. Members of both parties have indicated they have little appetite for another fight over the speakership, and some Democrats have indicated they may be willing to save Johnson if he moves ahead with Ukraine aid.

Johnson has tried to downplay the intraparty tensions. “I respect Marjorie. She will always have an open door to the speaker’s office. We do have honest differences on strategy sometimes but share the same conservative beliefs,” Johnson told CNN last week.

The bottom line: Johnson faces the most difficult stretch of his tenure as speaker, with a narrow and divided Republican majority, an open revolt by a right-wing firebrand and critical legislation on the agenda.