Home to vote Thursday to strip Marjorie Taylor Greene of committee roles, Hoyer says

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) shouts at journalists as she goes through security outside the House Chamber at Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on January 12, 2021.

Andrew Cabellero-Reynolds | AFP | Getty Images

The House will vote Thursday on a resolution to strip Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., of her committee assignments, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said.

The move comes amid resounding criticism of Greene for a series of extreme remarks she made before winning her congressional seat, and mounting pressure on Republican leaders to censure or condemn those comments.

The resolution ousting Greene from the Budget Committee and the Committee on Education and Labor passed in the House Rules Committee on Wednesday afternoon.

Hoyer, D-Md., said in a statement Wednesday that there will be a vote on the resolution Thursday on the floor of the House.

“It is clear there is no alternative to holding a Floor vote on the resolution to remove Rep. Greene from her committee assignments,” Hoyer said, noting that he had spoken with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., about Greene.

McCarthy had proposed to Hoyer that Republicans would take Greene off the Education Committee if she could hold onto her Budget Committee assignment, a source with knowledge told NBC News. Hoyer rejected that deal, which would have avoided a vote on the House floor.

Greene’s assignment to the Education Committee has proved more controversial in light of reports she mocked a school shooting survivor and suggested that other shootings were hoaxes.

McCarthy met with Greene on Tuesday evening in his Capitol office. He offered no immediate comment following that discussion.

But in a statement later Wednesday, McCarthy said that he “unequivocally” condemns Greene’s many controversial remarks about “school shootings, political violence, and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.”

The Republican leader said he made clear to Greene during their meeting that “as a member of Congress we have a responsibility to hold ourselves to a higher standard,” and that “her past comments now have much greater meaning.”

“Marjorie recognized this in our conversation. I hold her to her word,” McCarthy said in his statement.

But Greene has not publicly apologized for her past remarks, and has declared as recently as Wednesday that “we owe them no apologies” and “we will never back down,” referring to criticism from Democrats and the media.

McCarthy’s statement said that his offer to Hoyer was intended as a “path to lower the temperature and address these concerns” about Greene. But “Democrats are choosing to raise the temperature by taking the unprecedented step to further their partisan power grab regarding the committee assignments of the other party,” McCarthy said.

Greene, who won her House seat after running unopposed in Georgia’s 14th Congressional District, has long drawn widespread scrutiny and condemnation for promoting a sprawling list of conspiracy theories.

Greene has in the past expressed support for the baseless QAnon conspiracy, which alleges that former President Donald Trump was locked in a secret battle against a cabal of “deep-state” criminals in politics and media. She also recently came under fire following a CNN report showing that she had liked on Facebook multiple comments calling for executing prominent Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Media outlets also reported that Greene in 2018 had suggested that wildfires in California had perhaps been caused by laser beams.

At a House Rules Committee hearing on Wednesday, Chairman Jim McGovern, D-Mass., tore into the “truly sick stuff” Greene had said.

“When a person encourages talk about shooting a member in the head, they should lose the right to serve on any committee,” McGovern said. “If this isn’t the bottom line, I don’t know where the hell the bottom line is.”

McCarthy “is unwilling or unable to do the right thing,” McGovern added.

McGovern also expressed hope that the rules panel could come to a bipartisan agreement on the resolution.

“It is not about canceling somebody with a different political belief, it is about accountability,” McGovern said. “This is not a debate about a difference in policy or even ideology. It is about what she said.”

Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, the committee’s top Republican member, said at the hearing, “I find Congresswoman Greene’s comments deeply offensive.”

But he maintained that the committee’s hearing was “premature,” saying that the Ethics Committee should review the matter and make recommendations.

“I would strongly urge this committee to consider an alternative course of action before it’s too late.”

“I do worry a lot about the precedent of another party choosing to” strip a member’s committee assignments, Cole said.

Earlier in the week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., condemned Greene’s “loony lies and conspiracy theories,” calling them “cancer for the Republican Party and our country.”

But many Republicans have kept silent about Greene, or have withheld judgment about her possible expulsion from the congressional committees.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., tweeted earlier Wednesday that Greene’s “alleged comments on various issues” would be “troubling” if they accurately reflect her current views. But “the most important thing for me is to understand what Rep. Greene believes now and in the past,” Graham tweeted, inviting her to correct the record “if it needs to be corrected.”

Greene, meanwhile, has lashed out at the media throughout the latest wave of damaging stories about her.

“If @SpeakerPelosi was the minority leader, she would pull every identity politics trick in the book to defend her member,” Greene claimed Wednesday on Twitter. “White, Woman, Wife, Mother, Christian, Conservative, Business Owner […] These are the reasons they don’t want me on Ed & Labor.”

She previously warned that if Democrats move to cut her from House committees, “I can assure them that the precedent they are setting will be used extensively against members on their side once we regain the majority after the 2022 elections.”

Some Republicans have already taken steps in that direction. Republican lawmakers this week put forward an amendment to oust Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar from her committees, accusing her of making anti-Semitic comments.

Omar, one of the first Muslim women to serve in Congress, said in a statement that that effort is a “desperate smear rooted in racism, misogyny, and Islamophobia.”

“Republicans will do anything to distract from the fact that they have not only allowed but elevated members of their own caucus who encourage violence,” Omar said.

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