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Greene lays out case to oust speaker in letter to colleagues

Maneuvering comes as Johnson tries to hold together a GOP conference deeply divided on a handful of issues

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene speaks to the media on the House steps of the Capitol after filing her motion to vacate Speaker Mike Johnson on March 22.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene speaks to the media on the House steps of the Capitol after filing her motion to vacate Speaker Mike Johnson on March 22. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, in a letter to colleagues on Tuesday, shared her rationale for moving to oust Speaker Mike Johnson.

Greene, R-Ga., filed a motion to vacate on March 22, but she did not make the resolution privileged, which would have triggered a requirement to hold a vote within two legislative days. She told reporters at the time that she intended her motion to serve as “more of a warning than a pink slip,” and she did not want to throw the GOP caucus into chaos.

Tuesday’s letter expanded on her justification for the maneuver, which was previously used to oust Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., in October, leaving the post vacant for more than three weeks before Johnson, R-La., was elected on Oct. 25.

Greene’s maneuvering comes as Johnson is trying to hold together a GOP conference that is deeply divided on a handful of issues, including a possible reauthorization of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which includes a controversial provision that has enabled the collection of electronic communications of some Americans without a warrant, even though the law is designed to target only foreigners outside the United States.

Greene’s move to oust Johnson comes as the speaker weighs how to write a long-delayed supplemental spending bill that, as requested by President Joe Biden, would aid Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and U.S. submarine builders. It remains to be seen how pressure from Greene and others in the House Freedom Caucus will affect how Johnson approaches that measure.

The Senate passed its own $95.3 billion supplemental security bill in February, but Johnson thus far has refused to take up the bill in the House.

Greene laid out her case for removing Johnson from office in a five-page letter to colleagues that she posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The letter mainly focused on the recently enacted fiscal 2024 spending laws. Those measures have swelled the federal deficit, she argued, while containing provisions on a range of issues such as electric vehicles and LGBTQ support programs that she said are antithetical to conservative values. 

“If these actions by the leader of our conference continue, then we are not a Republican party — we are a Uniparty,” Greene wrote. “I will neither support nor take part in any of that, and neither will the people we represent.”

Greene also took aim at Johnson’s support for additional spending to assist Ukraine in its fight against Russia’s invasion.

Referring to Ukraine in her letter, Greene said the U.S. border “is the only border worth fighting a war over,” though U.S. troops are not fighting Russians in Ukraine.

Greene also criticized Johnson for bringing to a vote a reauthorization of the FISA law that authorizes government surveillance of certain communications to glean information about foreign threats. 

She said the Biden administration, using the law’s powers, is “spying” on hundreds of thousands of Americans.

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