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Marjorie Taylor Greene and Her Motion to Vacate Against Speaker Mike Johnson

Updated: Apr 18

After less than six months, rumors of a new Speaker of the House of Representatives are already spreading in the country. On March 28th, the representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (MTG) filed a motion to oust the Speaker of the House Rep. Mike Johnson. 


Taylor Greene filed the motion because she did not appreciate that Johnson sought help from the Democrats to pass major bills like budget proposals. She would have preferred that he negotiate with the Republicans, including her, who believed his proposals were not conservative enough and rejected them. 


First Appearance in the House Rules

The motion to vacate was introduced for the first in the House in 1837 with the manual of Benjamin Franklin that mentioned the removal of the Speaker is “at the will of the House”


The motion was not used until 1910 by Rep. George Norris against Speaker Joseph Cannon for “personal reasons.” Norris believed the Speaker was blocking legislative business from reaching the floor and thought it was against the House and the American people’s interest. 


Concession from McCarthy to be Elected Speaker

In 2018, the House reformed the rule “to require the majority of either party to bring forward a motion to vacate” because allowing only one member to call a vote to oust the Speaker would bring extreme partisanship.


In 2023, to be elected as Speaker by the House, Rep. Kevin McCarthy conceded to abolish this reform to get enough support from the House Freedom Caucus. 


McCarthy Ousted

Just a few months later, Matt Gaetz filed a motion to vacate as a privileged resolution and the House voted to oust him, mostly due to his decisions about government funding.


In early April, months after being ousted, McCarthy said he lost the speakership because a “member of Congress wanted him to stop an ethics complaint against [them] because he slept with a 17-year-old.” This story underlines a civil lawsuit against Gaetz stating he had sex with a minor.


Threat from MTG to Mike Johnson

Weeks after a vacant Speaker seat, the House elected Rep. Mike Johnson to replace McCarthy. More conservative than his predecessor, Johnson was believed to represent the most conservative Congresspeople better. 


Surprisingly, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, one of the most conservative politicians in Congress, filed a motion to vacate the chair but did not put in an underprivileged resolution yet, so there is no vote scheduled on the matter.


Taylor Greene’s threats intensified against Johnson, but she did not have as many supporters in the GOP as Gaetz to oust McCarthy. For the moment, only Rep. Thomas Massie publicly supports the motion.


With the upcoming elections, if the Republicans keep control of the House, Johnson will need to be reelected before returning as Speaker. Based on Taylor Greene’s threats and the thin majority of the GOP in the House, his reelection as Speaker may be questioned. 


Acknowledgment: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the individual author.


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