House Democrats took the unprecedented step of removing Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., from her two committee assignments for espousing violence and conspiracy theories on social media before she was elected to Congress in November.
The 230-199 vote was bipartisan, with 11 Republicans joining with all Democrats to oust Greene from the Committee on Education and Labor and the House Budget Committee. House Republicans appointed Greene to both panels last month after the freshman rep was sworn into Congress.
Democrats said they were forced to take action to uphold the standards of decency in Congress because Republicans refused to penalize Greene for her history of incendiary remarks.
“Serving on a committee isn’t a right. It’s a privilege. When someone encourages violence against a member, they should lose that privilege,” said Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., the chairman of the House Rules Committee.
“The party of Lincoln is becoming the party of violent conspiracy theories,” McGovern continued. “And apparently, the leaders of the Republican Party in the House today aren’t going to do a damn thing about it.”
Republicans widely disavowed Greene’s past comments — which included QAnon conspiracies, claims that mass school schoolings were staged, suggesting a plane didn’t hit the Pentagon during 9/11, endorsing violence against prominent Democrats and espousing anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim views.
But Republicans largely panned the House vote to remove Greene from committees because they didn’t want Democrats interfering with GOP matters and setting a new precedent for penalizing members for statements and postings they made prior to entering Congress.
“This resolution sets a dangerous new standard that will only deepen divisions within this House,” said GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who condemned Greene’s comments.
“This is nothing more than an abuse of power by a party drunk with power,” added Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C.
McCarthy blasted Democrats for exercising new veto authority over GOP committee assignments while they “ignore the infractions” of their own members, referencing Reps. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., and Maxine Waters, D-Calif., keeping their committee assignments over GOP objections.
Omar spoke up in favor of penalizing Greene in personal terms. She mentioned how Greene tried to previously force her and Rashida Tlaib, two Muslim members of Congress, to retake their congressional oaths on the Bible. She recalled when Greene posted a picture of herself holding a gun alongside images of Omar, Tlaib and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, titled the “Squad’s worst nightmare.”
“This is about whether it is okay to hold an assault rifle next to Members’ heads in a campaign ad and incite death threats against them,” Omar, D-Minn., said. “This is about whether it is okay to encourage the murder of the Speaker of the House.”
In one dramatic moment of debate, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., produced a poster-sized version of Greene’s Facebook ad targeting the “Squad” members and walked the placard over to the GOP side of the aisle.
“Look at that image and tell me what message you think it sends. Here she is armed with a deadly assault rifle pointed toward three Democratic members,” Hoyer thundered. “They are our colleagues!”
WATCH: @LeaderHoyer during debate on Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA): "I urge my colleagues to look at this image."
Rep. Hoyer then walks image around House floor to be seen by other members.
— CSPAN (@cspan) February 4, 2021
Typically, party leadership decides the committee slots for their own members. McCarthy, for instance, in 2019 decided to remove former Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, from committee assignments following his remarks panned as racist. McCarthy, however, declined to take action against Greene, saying she has denounced QAnon and will abide by a higher standard as a member of Congress.
Greene defended herself in a floor speech earlier Thursday where she said she regretted her past statements on QAnon conspiracy theories and made clear she thought that the 9/11 terrorist attacks and school shootings were not a hoax.
“These were words of the past, and these things do not represent me,” Greene said Thursday. “They do not represent my district, and they do not represent my values.”
The 11 Republicans who voted to strip Greene of her power were Reps. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Nicole Malliotakis of New York, John Katko of New York, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Fred Upton of Michigan, Carlos Gimenez of Florida, Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida, Chris Jacobs of New York, Young Kim of California, Maria Elvira Salazar of Florida and Chris Smith of New Jersey.
Author: Marisa Schultz