Democratic support for removing Greene from committees, House grows

Republican leaders mostly silent in wake of comments about space lasers

Democrats want Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., to lose her committee seats, and possibly be expelled from the House. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Democrats want Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., to lose her committee seats, and possibly be expelled from the House. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Posted February 1, 2021 at 3:52pm, Updated at 6:19pm

Democratic support for a resolution to expel Georgia Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene from the House is growing.

There are 61 Democratic co-sponsors on Rep. Jimmy Gomez’s resolution to remove Greene from Congress, according to Eric Harris, a spokesman for the California Democrat. Gomez hopes to introduce the resolution this week, possibly as early as Tuesday.

Additionally, Florida Democrat Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s office on Monday afternoon circulated a resolution to remove Greene from her House committee assignments, on Education and Labor and on Budget. That resolution will be considered by the House Rules Committee on Wednesday, clearing its path for floor consideration and likely passage.

“It should not be left to the whims of the Republican Party — Congress must act to ensure she is removed from her committee assignments,” Wasserman Schultz said in a letter to colleagues. She said her resolution has about 20 co-sponsors.

Greene has embraced violence against members of Congress, including when she liked a comment on Facebook in 2019 that said “a bullet to the head would be quicker” to remove Nancy Pelosi from the speakership. She also has supported QAnon conspiracy theories and denigrated a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivor in a video.

Greene also claimed on Facebook that a deadly California wildfire in 2018 was started by a laser beam from space and that Rothschild Inc. — frequently brought up by anti-Semites in tropes about Jewish control of financial matters — and Richard Blum, the husband of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., were involved. (Blum, like Feinstein, is Jewish.)

Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Calif. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

On Friday, Gomez’s office sent out a “Dear Colleague” letter asking for members to support the expulsion of Greene “for her documented acts of sedition and advocacy for lethal violence against the United States Government prior to her election and during her term.”

Co-sponsors of the expulsion resolution include House Ethics Chairman Ted Deutch, whose district includes Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida; Appropriations Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut; Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters of California; and Wasserman Schultz.

A resolution for expulsion, censure or reprimand normally goes through the House Ethics Committee, but it is not mandated and can be called up by the sponsor without going through committee. If the resolution affects the integrity of the House or the conduct of a member, it is a privileged question, meaning those should have precedence over all questions, except for motions to adjourn.

None of the top House Republicans — Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Minority Whip Steve Scalise and Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney — have called for Greene to lose her committee slots or for any form of official sanction.

McCarthy welcomed Greene to the conference in November. He plans to have a talk with Greene, a spokesperson said. Representatives for McCarthy, Scalise and Cheney did not respond to a question about whether Greene should face any discipline.

One of the specific transgressions cited by Wasserman Schultz in her draft resolution is Greene’s post on social media of a picture of her holding a rifle, alongside images of Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, that says: “Squad’s worst night- mare.” Omar, Ocasio-Cortez and Tlaib are members of the so-called squad, an informal name for a House group of progressive lawmakers.

“Rep. Taylor Greene, a dangerous conspiracy theorist, has advocated for violence and repeatedly made racist, anti-Semitic, and Islamophobic comments,” Wasserman Schultz’s “Dear Colleague” letter said. “She has engaged in extremism and sedition, and spread baseless conspiracy theories, particularly claiming that several deadly school shootings had been staged, such as the shootings at both Sandy Hook and Marjory Stoneman Douglas.”

Reps. Jake Auchincloss of Massachusetts, André Carson of Indiana, Kathy Castor of Florida and Yvette D. Clarke of New York are among the co-sponsors seeking to strip Green of her committee duties.

“Rep. Taylor Greene’s pattern of appalling behavior, both prior to her election and during her term, has caused additional trauma for survivors of violence, fueled domestic terrorism, and endangered the lives of her colleagues,” the letter added.

Shortly after former Reps. Duncan Hunter and Chris Collins were indicted in August 2018, then-Speaker Paul Ryan removed them from committee assignments. Rep. Steve King lost his committee posts in January 2019 after making comments widely seen as sympathetic to white supremacists.

Members rarely get expelled from Congress, an action that requires a two-thirds majority. Twenty total members of Congress — 15 senators and five House lawmakers— have been expelled from their seats, according to a Congressional Research Service report from 2018. The late Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. was the most recent example of a member expelled from the House. The Ohio Democrat was expelled in 2002 after he was convicted of bribery, illegal gratuities, defrauding the government and other crimes.

Censure and reprimand are other forms of official punishment and both require a simple majority.

Greene issued the following statement in response to a request for comment on the increasing support for the resolutions: “Democrats and their spokesmen in the Fake News Media will stop at nothing to defeat conservative Republicans. They are coming after me because I’m a threat to their goal of Socialism. They are coming after me because they know I represent the people, not the politicians. They are coming after me because, like President [Donald] Trump, I will always defend America First values. They want to take me out because I represent the people. And they absolutely hate it.”