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Greene holds back on vote to depose Johnson — for now

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Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene still hasn’t forced a vote on ousting Speaker Mike Johnson, despite vowing earlier Tuesday that she would forge ahead on her long-stalled effort.

The Georgia conservative, in a statement on X, formerly Twitter, said that “if the Democrats want to elect him Speaker (and some Republicans want to support the Democrats’ chosen Speaker), I’ll give them the chance to do it.” Greene did not specify timing, but House Republicans had braced for her to move forward during a vote series Tuesday afternoon.

During that series, Greene huddled at length with Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) toward the back of the chamber, joined at times by fellow Johnson skeptic Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.). Greene walked into the chamber during the midway point of the lengthy round of votes and remained with Massie afterwards, parting nearly 30 minutes after the series finished.

Still, Greene did not formally tee up her motion under privilege, which would force a vote within two legislative days. As the Georgia Republican left the House floor, she said that she was “developing plans” on how to move forward.

If or when she does, that vote stands little chance at succeeding, since House Democratic leaders formally announced on Tuesday that they will help save Johnson. That was help he sorely needed, since Massie and Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) had joined Greene’s effort and the GOP leader is sitting at a measly two-vote margin.

“I’m a big believer in recorded votes because putting Congress on record allows every American to see the truth and provides transparency to our votes. Americans deserve to see the Uniparty on full display,” Greene said in her statement on X, referring to a term some conservatives use to disparage Republicans who work with Democrats. “I’m about to give them their coming out party!”

Greene had hoped that her colleagues would go home for last week’s one-week recess and get an earful from their constituents against Johnson, leading to a wave of new backers for her ouster effort. So far, that has not materialized.

And while several conservative hardliners are leaving the door open, they’ve also made clear they don’t think backing an ouster vote makes sense right now due to several factors: The timing of the presidential election, the fact that they likely wouldn’t be able to elect a more conservative replacement and former President Donald Trump’s support for Johnson.

Getting saved by Democrats is exactly the scenario that many Republicans predicted would doom then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy, even if he had survived the first vote to strip him of the gavel. And while there are still rumblings of a larger conference rebellion if Johnson stays because of Democratic help, even some of his critics believe he’ll likely be able to hold on through November — when House Republicans will determine their leadership for next year.

Anthony Adragna contributed to this report.