WASHINGTON — House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Wednesday that the House would vote Thursday on whether to strip embattled Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., of her committee assignments after Republican leader Kevin McCarthy failed to take action against her.
"I spoke to Leader McCarthy this morning, and it is clear there is no alternative to holding a Floor vote on the resolution to remove Rep. Greene from her committee assignments," Hoyer, D-Md., said in a tweet. "The Rules Committee will meet this afternoon, and the House will vote on the resolution tomorrow."
In a statement, McCarthy, R-Calif., said he had spoken to Greene and "made clear that as a member of Congress we have a responsibility to hold ourselves to a higher standard than how she presented herself as a private citizen."
"Her past comments now have much greater meaning," he said. "Marjorie recognized this in our conversation. I hold her to her word, as well as her actions going forward."
He said he condemned Greene's earlier statements and made no mention of Greene's apologizing. McCarthy also complained that "Democrats are choosing to raise the temperature by taking the unprecedented step to further their partisan power grab regarding the committee assignments of the other party. "
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in a statement blasted McCarthy's "cowardly refusal to act" against Greene, whom Pelosi described as an "anti-Semite, a QAnon adherent and 9/11 Truther." She listed McCarthy's party affiliation as "Q-CA" in an apparent reference to the conspiracy theory that Greene has supported in the past.
At the Rules Committee hearing, Chair Jim McGovern, D-Mass., said Greene "should resign."
"I don’t think she’s fit to serve in this institution," he said, contending that stripping her of her committee assignments "is the minimum."
The ranking Republican on the committee, Tom Cole of Oklahoma, said that Greene's comments have been "deeply offensive" but that he believed it was "premature" for the panel to weigh in at this point. He said he was concerned about precedent's being set by essentially having a majority party punish a minority party member.
McGovern said he was fine setting a precedent that the majority can take away committee assignments if members advocate violence against their colleagues. "If that's not the bottom, I don't know what the hell is," McGovern said.
The committee advanced the resolution, paving the way for a vote Thursday.
During a roughly five-hour GOP conference meeting on Wednesday evening, Greene spoke and said she realizes what she said previously was wrong, according to a source in the room. Two other sources said she received applause while a few stood to clap for her.
After the meeting, McCarthy was asked about McConnell calling her comments a cancer.
"Well, we denounce all of those comments that were brought up… She came inside our conference and denounced them as well. She said she was wrong.”
When asked if Democrats and the public deserve to hear that apology, he said, “I think everybody should hear that. She has expressed she has put it out from news agencies and others. I think it would be helpful if you could hear what she told us denouncing QAnon."
A group of House Democrats introduced the resolution this week to remove Greene from her two committee assignments after more of her inflammatory and false statements from before she was elected came to light. The statements included social media activity in which Greene liked posts calling for violence against prominent Democrats and a speech in which said that Pelosi was "guilty of treason" and that treason is "a crime punishable by death."
Greene has suggested that the Parkland and Sandy Hook school shootings were staged, which led Democrats to blast her assignment to the Education and Labor Committee. She also accosted Parkland survivor David Hogg in videos recorded before she was elected and later called him an "idiot" who "only talks when he is scripted."
McCarthy and Greene met late Tuesday for 90 minutes ahead of a GOP Steering Committee meeting, multiple sources confirmed. The Steering Committee, headed by McCarthy, picks which committees Republican members sit on. The group can also take committee assignments away.
McCarthy asked Greene to voluntarily depart the Education Committee or apologize for her previous statements, a source familiar with the conversation said. She did neither.
The Steering Committee was unable to come to decide what to do during the emergency meeting late Tuesday.
A source with direct knowledge confirmed a Politico report that McCarthy proposed to Hoyer that Republicans would take Greene off the Education and Labor Committee but leave her on the Budget Committee if Democrats agreed not to put the House resolution up for a vote.
McCarthy complained in his statement about Hoyer's refusal to take the deal. “I understand that Marjorie’s comments have caused deep wounds to many and as a result, I offered Majority Leader Hoyer a path to lower the temperature and address these concerns," McCarthy said, but Democratic leaders refused.
House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., maintained that the "best thing that could happen" would be for the Republican leader to step up. “Kevin McCarthy should handle this problem,” Jeffries said.
Action by the Steering Committee would spare House Republicans from voting on Greene's fate, which could lead to blowback from their constituents.
In 2019, McCarthy and the Steering Committee voted to remove Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, from his committee assignments because of comments he'd made to The New York Times questioning when the terms "white nationalist" and "white supremacist" became "offensive."
Some Republicans have defended Greene by noting that, unlike King's, most of her offensive comments were made before she was elected. Hoyer told reporters that Greene's rhetoric "far exceeded" King's. "I can't remember ... any situation that I believe is analogous to what Ms. Greene has done before and after being elected," Hoyer said.
At the hearing, McGovern noted that Greene has refused to apologize for her remarks, which she touted on Twitter earlier in the day. "She's doubled down on it. She's fundraising off this stuff," he said.
Top Senate Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, have spoken out against Greene and called for her to be marginalized, but she does have party defenders in the House, including Jim Jordan of Ohio and Andy Biggs of Arizona.
Greene also claimed that she had another high-profile supporter this week: former President Donald Trump. "Great news is, he supports me 100 percent, and I've always supported him," she told OAN.