Kevin Breuninger, CNBC
The House voted Thursday to strip Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., of her committee assignments as punishment for a laundry list of extreme views and conspiracy theories she promoted before taking office.
The vote passed by a margin of 230-199, with 11 Republican members siding with the Democratic majority. No Democrats voted against the resolution.
The 11 Republicans who voted to remove Greene included: Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA), Rep. Chris Jacobs (NY), Rep. Carlos A. Giménez (FL), Rep. John Katko (NY), Rep. Young Kim (CA), Rep. Adam Kinzinger (IL), Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (NY), Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (FL), Rep. Fred Upton (MI), Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart and Rep. Chris Smith (NJ).
It passed just a few hours after Greene took to the chamber floor to express regret for some of the fringe views she had peddled, including the pro-Trump QAnon conspiracy. She did not offer an apology.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., had hoped to avoid the vote, which forced Republicans to take an on-the-record stance on the resolution aimed at condemning Greene’s conduct.
While few if any GOP members had openly defended Greene’s most controversial remarks — such as reportedly indicating support for executing top Democrats — some Republicans had argued against the process, warning that Democrats’ efforts to censure Greene would set a dangerous precedent. Other Republicans opted to attack Democrats for refusing to censure their own members who have made incendiary statements in the past.
But Democrats maintained that Greene’s conduct puts her in a category of her own, requiring her removal from the Budget Committee and the Committee on Education and Labor.
“When a person encourages talk about shooting a member in the head, they should lose the right to serve on any committee,” Rules Chairman Jim McGovern, D-Mass., said Wednesday before his committee approved the resolution to kick Greene off the committees.
“If this isn’t the bottom line, I don’t know where the hell the bottom line is,” McGovern said.
Greene before being elected had promoted a litany of other radical conspiracies and extreme statements. She reportedly expressed skepticism for the conspiracy theory that a plane did not hit the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001. She reportedly suggested that some school shootings had been staged, and mocked a survivor of the Parkland, Florida, school massacre. Media outlets also reported that Greene in 2018 had suggested that wildfires in California had perhaps been caused by laser beams.
McCarthy spoke with Greene in a closed-door meeting Tuesday night. He then proposed to Democrats that the GOP would strip Greene of her Education Committee assignment if she could remain on the Budget Committee, NBC News reported. Democrats rejected that offer.
“To do nothing would be an abdication of our moral responsibility to our colleagues, to the House, to our values, to the truth and to our country,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said on the floor before the final vote Thursday night.
“Yesterday, the Republican Conference chose to do nothing. So today, the House must do something,” Hoyer said.
Greene claims she recently spoke with Trump and has his support. Trump, who lost his race against President Joe Biden but has never formally conceded, retains overwhelming support from Republicans even after the riot at the U.S. Capitol by his supporters, which left five dead.
But other prominent Republicans have been less supportive of Greene. Earlier in the week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., blasted Greene’s “loony lies and conspiracy theories,” calling them “cancer for the Republican Party and our country.”
McCarthy, in a statement Wednesday afternoon, said he “unequivocally” condemns Greene’s many controversial remarks about “school shootings, political violence, and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.”
He went on to criticize Democrats for moving to sanction Greene, accusing the majority party of a partisan power grab.
McCarthy said he explained to Greene during a Tuesday evening meeting that “as a member of Congress we have a responsibility to hold ourselves to a higher standard.”
“Marjorie recognized this in our conversation. I hold her to her word,” McCarthy said in his statement.
Democrats, meanwhile, appear eager to present Greene as the poster child for the GOP.
McCarthy has chosen to make House Republicans “the party of conspiracy theories and QAnon,” Pelosi said in a statement Wednesday, “and Rep. Greene is in the driver’s seat.”
“I remain profoundly concerned about House Republican leadership’s acceptance of extreme conspiracy theorists,” Pelosi said at a press briefing Thursday.
“Particularly disturbing is their eagerness to reward a QAnon adherent, a 9/11 truther, a harasser of child survivors of school shootings, to give them valued committee positions, including — who could imagine they would put such a person on the Education Committee?”