Marjorie Taylor Greene files motion to oust House Speaker Mike Johnson

The threat to oust Johnson comes just months after he ascended to the position.

March 22, 2024, 1:34 PM

Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene on Friday filed a motion to vacate the speaker's chair, threatening to oust Speaker Mike Johnson just months after he ascended to the speakership.

"I filed the motion to vacate today, but it's more of a warning and a pink slip," Greene told reporters outside the U.S. Capitol. "I respect our conference. I paid all my dues to my conference. I am a member in good standing and I do not wish to inflict pain on my conference and to throw the House in chaos."

"But this is basically a warning and it's time for us to go through the process, take our time and find a new speaker of the House that will stand with Republicans and our Republican majority instead of standing with the Democrats," Greene added.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene speaks to the media on the House steps of the U.S. Capitol after filing her motion to vacate Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, Mar. 22, 2024.
Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

An aide to the speaker's office said Greene hasn't made her motion privileged, which means that it can't be considered until after the congressional recess ending on April 9. Greene has not said when she would call the resolution up for a vote.

"Speaker Johnson always listens to the concerns of members, but is focused on governing," said Raj Shah, a spokesman for Johnson, in response to the news. "He will continue to push conservative legislation that secures our border, strengthens our national defense and demonstrates how we'll grow our majority."

Asked by ABC News Senior Congressional Correspondent Rachel Scott if she has the support of the GOP conference to oust Johnson, Greene didn't say.

“I won’t give you a number, but I have talked to many who probably won’t go public, but silently they are breathing a sigh of relief," she responded.

The congresswoman did not specify who she would want as speaker instead of Johnson.

“I am saying the clock has started," she said. "It’s time for our conference to choose a new speaker."

The move from Greene comes amid frustration from the House Freedom Caucus on Johnson's approach to passing funding bills to avert a government shutdown.

Earlier Friday, the House passed a $1.2 trillion package to fund Defense, Financial Services, Homeland Security and other agencies before a midnight deadline. Johnson did so under a suspension of the rules, which required him to rely on Democrats to get the bills across the finish line.

Johnson applauded its passage in a statement, calling it "an important step in breaking the omnibus muscle memory" that "represents the best achievable outcome in a divided government."

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson returns to his office after Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene introduced a motion to vacate Johnson at the U.S. Capitol Mar. 22, 2024, in Washington.
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More Democrats than Republicans voted for the spending package on Friday. The final vote was 286-134, with more than 100 Republicans opposing the measure.

Greene accused Johnson of helping pass a "Democratic budget" in the House on Friday, and criticized him for bringing the package up for a vote under suspension of the rules and without allowing votes on amendments.

Johnson's predecessor Kevin McCarthy was removed from the post by Republican hard-liners who were similarly upset that he worked with Democrats on an eleventh-hour deal to keep the government open last fall.

"Frankly, I can't defend the speaker," House Freedom Caucus Chairman Bob Good, R-Va., said earlier Friday when asked about a motion to vacate. "It is the speaker's decision to bring this to the floor for a vote. You guys ask us every day about the status of the speaker. But I don't think anybody here talked cavalierly or flippantly about the speaker a year ago. We focused on policy, we focused on actions, we focused on performance or lack thereof. And we're doing the same thing today."

ABC News' Alexandra Hutzler contributed to this report.