House Republicans have punted a decision on whether to strip Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of her committee assignments, despite huddling for over an hour Tuesday evening to discuss the controversial freshman’s fate, according to multiple GOP sources.
Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy — who is under increasing pressure to discipline the Georgia Republican for her past offensive and incendiary rhetoric — called an emergency late-night meeting in his office with the House GOP Steering Committee after he met face-to-face with Greene earlier in the evening.
But they made no final decision about how to proceed, and lawmakers headed home after the meeting wrapped-up for the evening. Greene was awarded seats last week on the House Education and Labor Committee, as well as the House Budget Committee.
The Steering panel may resume deliberations Wednesday — the same day the entire House GOP conference will be meeting to debate whether to oust Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) from her leadership job after she voted to impeach Donald Trump.
“No, we are going to be working through some things,” House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) briefly told reporters as he left the building.
GOP leaders could remove Greene from one or both of her committee posts. They could also reassign her. But any committee changes would need to first be approved by the Steering panel, which includes members of leadership and their vote carries more weight. The full GOP conference would ultimately need to approve any changes to Greene’s committee assignments.
Part of the internal debate around Greene has centered on precedent. Republicans don’t want to be seen as defending Greene’s behavior, but are reluctant to punish Greene for comments made before she came to Congress.
Democrats, hoping to force the GOP’s hand, have threatened to pass a resolution this week to boot Greene from her committees if McCarthy doesn’t act soon. The House Rules Committee will meet Wednesday to start prepping that measure for a floor vote.
Democrats have taken particular issue with Greene’s assignment on the House Education and Labor Committee since she has suggested prior to being elected to Congress that the Sandy Hook and Parkland school shootings are a hoax. Greene has also endorsed violence against Democrats, espoused racist views and dabbled in QAnon conspiracy theories.
Greene has attempted to walk back some of her comments about school shootings and has scrubbed a handful of her social media posts. But she has remained publicly defiant, tweeting she will “never” apologize. Over the weekend, Greene also claimed she had a phone call with Trump and has his full backing.
For now, Greene’s committee assignments are stuck in limbo. But the mere prospect of Democrats making a determination about the minority’s committee assignments has sparked concern among lawmakers about a tit-for-tat between the two parties; some Republicans are already vowing to go after Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D-Minn.) committee assignments.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) acknowledged that it could be a “risk” to take action on Greene. But he also said her behavior is beyond the pale and can’t go unchecked.
“There’s a picture of Greene with an automatic weapon, which you’ve probably seen. It says, ‘The squad’s worst nightmare,’” Hoyer said. “Our members believe that a statement has to be made about members who pose a threat, and clearly, she articulated that threat in that picture.”
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