One day after Democrats made an unprecedented move to strip Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of her committee assignments, the Georgia Republican countered that she’d now have plenty of time to obstruct her opponents’ “far-leftist” proposals and push her GOP colleagues harder to the right.
Her repeated motions to adjourn legislative debate over the past several weeks have forced members to scramble to the House floor and vote to remain in session, a move that is infuriating Democrats and, increasingly, members of her own party.
On Wednesday, she moved to adjourn as the House was preparing to debate the coronavirus relief package. The motion was defeated, with 40 Republicans joining Democrats in opposing it.
That marked the fourth time in recent weeks that Greene moved to adjourn. Each time, the number of Republicans voting against her increased, including some of the chamber’s most conservative members on Wednesday.
In an interview, a defiant Greene stressed that her colleagues of both parties should get used to her trying to delay consideration of Democratic priorities.
“These are tactics I will definitely use, and I’ll have more tactics to use. You see the difference in me is I’m not one of those that gets in line and says ‘Yes sir’ and does as I’m told,” she told The Washington Post on Tuesday.
“When people go against me — I’m an honest person, I have no problem saying, ‘Hey guess what, if you’re whining about walking down to the floor and having to vote and it may have interrupted what you’re doing, well guess what, your voters back at home and the American people don’t really care. They’d rather see you govern, and they want you to do the job that they elected you to do.’ ”
Greene is not the only Republican in recent weeks to use delaying tactics. Sen. Ron Johnson (Wis.) demanded a reading on the floor of the roughly 630-page American Relief Plan, which delayed consideration of the coronavirus relief bill for 11 hours. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) requested a motion to adjourn late Friday evening to delay the final vote on the $1.9 trillion bill. The motion was defeated.
But Greene, who entered Congress two months ago, has obstructed more often and attracted sharper criticism. Democrats, who have a majority, denied Greene her committee assignments last month in a rebuke of her embrace of extremist ideology.
“Marjorie Taylor Greene is clearly in need of an intervention, and she needs to find a hobby, other than engaging in unproductive activity and miring herself in conspiracy theory after conspiracy theory,” Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday.
Greene has made comments on social media suggesting that some mass shootings were staged by supporters of gun control, that the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were orchestrated by government entities and that a Jewish cabal had sparked a deadly California wildfire with a laser beam directed from space.
As recently as late last year, she was an adherent of the false claims of the QAnon ideology. She has renounced some of her most outlandish claims.
After Greene’s gambit Wednesday, Rep. David N. Cicilline (D-R.I.) was so irritated he said he will propose a rule that only a member of a committee can make a motion to adjourn. “I’m dead serious,” he said.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), one of 11 Republicans who voted with Democrats to remove Greene from committees, released a statement Tuesday criticizing Greene’s motions.
“Representative Greene is doing a further disservice to her constituents by obstructing the work of Congress for her own personal satisfaction and wasting the time of Members who actually want to get things done for the people they represent,” the statement said.
Some of the most combative Republicans support Greene, however, noting that Democrats should have expected her to get creative with expressing her opinion after they eliminated her committee assignments. It was the first time a majority party voted to remove a member of the minority party from committees.
“The Democrats are the ones who created that situation, and that’s ridiculous what they did. It’s wrong what they did, and now they’re all upset that Marjorie’s asking them to do their job. I don’t have a problem with it,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a member of the staunchly conservative Freedom Caucus. “I walked on the floor when she made a motion to adjourn, and I said, ‘Marjorie, you’re doing your committee work.’ ”
Greene is undeterred by the criticism and has not been shy about criticizing colleagues. She called out the Republicans who opposed her Wednesday, releasing a statement on Twitter that said, “These Republican votes are the 40 white flags of the Surrender Caucus.”
“Our Republican voters want to see Republican members in the House standing up and fighting back,” Greene said in the interview, “not whining about, ‘Oh, we had to get off our Zoom call’ or, ‘Oh, this interrupted my meeting with the Chamber of Commerce back home.’ ”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) declined to comment specifically about the delay tactics but said he is negotiating with Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) about them.
One House Republican aide says McCarthy has not told Greene to stop her maneuvers, understanding the frustration the caucus feels at Democrats’ fast-tracking legislation without their input. The aide, who was not authorized to speak publicly, spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Trying to delay the majority party’s agenda is not a new tactic for members of the minority party. Democrats have done it, including in 2016, when they participated in a sit-in on the House floor after they demanded a vote on gun reform legislation following the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando that killed 49 people.
But the frequency of Greene’s tactics are unusual. Republicans gave Democrats another headache Monday when Rep. Chip Roy (R-Tex.) joined Greene and several members of the Freedom Caucus to move for a roll-call vote on all 13 “suspension” bills slated for the evening — bills that have more than two-thirds support of all elected members and can be passed quickly.
Hoyer’s office pulled the bills, some of which were sponsored by Republicans, to prevent 10 consecutive hours of votes, including bills that would have awarded the Congressional Gold Medal to members of the Capitol Police and D.C. police for their efforts during the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Roy and other House conservatives cast the move as a protest measure, objecting to Democrats’ recent moves to curtail the minority’s traditional role in the chamber.
Democrats, for instance, moved in January to roll back the ability of Republicans to offer a final amendment to major bills — a procedure that caused headaches for Democratic leaders in the last Congress. Republicans have also objected to a lack of floor amendments on recent bills, including the pandemic relief bill.
Unlike Greene’s motions to adjourn, which are disruptive to members’ schedule, Roy’s method was strongly supported by Republicans.
After Tuesday’s Republican conference meeting, Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said that leadership has not taken a formal position on whether members should delay floor procedures but said they have “been very vocal on the Republican side that we want an open congressional process, and we want bills to go through committee.”
Jeffries, the Democratic caucus chair, said Greene’s jockeying has reminded him of some wisdom from his grandmother. He said Greene’s tactics could cause Democrats to block GOP bills from reaching the House floor.
“My grandmother used to say to me, be careful what you wish for,” Jeffries said, “because you just might get it.”