Democrats on the House Rules Committee are preparing to strip Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) of her committee assignments if Republican leaders fail to hold her accountable for a series of conspiracy theory-laden social media posts and other controversial comments.
The new congresswoman has faced a growing mountain of criticism since she was elected in November. Aside from her embrace of the wild QAnon conspiracy theory movement, she has supported patently false claims that the Sandy Hook and Parkland school shootings were staged; liked posts calling for the killing of Democratic politicians, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.); and theorized that a laser beam from space sparked a massive 2018 wildfire in California.
In the halls of Congress, Greene has also been accused of berating Democratic lawmakers and attempting to flout safety measures implemented after the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last month.
Top Republicans, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), have faced calls to penalize Greene for her statements and ongoing refusal to distance herself from controversial and offensive conspiracy theories. But the GOP leadership has so far failed to do so aside from McCarthy saying that some of her comments were “disturbing” and that he would “have a conversation with the congresswoman about them.”
So far that meeting doesn’t appear to have taken place. The Rules Committee’s release of its proposed resolution on Monday amounts to an ultimatum from Democrats. A full floor vote would force congressional Republicans to go on the record regarding their support for Greene just as the party is struggling to figure out how to handle the Trump-aligned faction within its ranks post-election.
Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), the chairman of the Rules Committee, said on Monday that the panel was prepared to take action if House Republican leadership failed to do so within the next 72 hours.
“If Kevin McCarthy doesn’t have the courage to do what is right and remove her from these committees, then we will,” McGovern said.
Loss of her committee seats could just be the beginning of Greene’s woes. Top Democrats have discussed more dramatic options, including censure and possible expulsion (although that last step would require almost 70 Republicans to join the effort).
Greene responded shortly after the resolution was unveiled, pledging retribution in future Congresses should Republicans retake the majority in the House.
“If Democrats remove me from my 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,” Greene wrote. “And we will regain the majority, make no mistake about that.”
Other Republicans have run afoul of both parties in recent years, notably then-Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa). King was stripped of every committee assignment in 2019 over his long history of white supremacist views, although he had served nearly two decades in Congress before that happened.