Marjorie Taylor Greene
Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene speaking with attendees at the 2023 Turning Point Action Conference at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach, Florida (Photo: Gage Skidmore, reproduced under a Creative Commons license)

The Repub­li­can-ruled U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives has once again become a bro­ken home, with a promis­ing law­mak­er decid­ing to leave before his cur­rent term ends and the lat­est House Speak­er, Mike John­son, on the ropes.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mike Gal­lagher, R‑Wisconsin announced he will quit Con­gress on April 19th, reduc­ing the Repub­li­cans to a one-vote major­i­ty. A fel­low Repub­li­can, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ken Buck of Col­orado, who has bucked Trump, was clear­ing out his office after cast­ing his last vote.

As the. House passed a $1.2 tril­lion appro­pri­a­tions bill — on the strength of Demo­c­ra­t­ic votes — ultra MAGA Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mar­jorie Tay­lor Greene, R‑Georgia, was on the Capi­tol steps announc­ing a motion to vacate the Speaker’s office. A major­i­ty of House Repub­li­cans had just vot­ed against the bill, described by Speak­er John­son as “the best achiev­able out­come in a divid­ed government.”

We should take notice out in this Wash­ing­ton. If Democ­rats flip the House in Novem­ber, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Adam Smith, D‑Wash., will again chair the House Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Rick Larsen will like­ly chair the House Trans­porta­tion Com­mit­tee and Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Suzan Del­Bene will reap the ben­e­fits of chair­ing the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Con­gres­sion­al Cam­paign Committee.

FNC loves to run Democ­rats-in-Dis­ar­ray head­lines. But House Repub­li­cans have formed an unri­valed cir­cu­lar fir­ing squad, with mount­ing casu­al­ties. The most divi­sive mem­bers of their cau­cus are favored guests of such Fox hosts as Sean Han­ni­ty and Lau­ra Ingraham.

Ultra MAGA extrem­ists purged House Speak­er Kevin McCarthy, him­self a stri­dent par­ti­san, last fall for dar­ing to do a deal pre­vent­ing a gov­ern­ment shut­down. McCarthy sub­se­quent­ly quit Con­gress. A spe­cial elec­tion for his Cal­i­for­nia seat, wide­ly con­sid­ered safe Repub­li­can turf, is slat­ed lat­er this spring.

Buck bailed out in dis­gust at col­leagues’ mal­adroit effort to impeach Pres­i­dent Biden. Dit­to Gal­lagher, one of three Repub­li­cans to vote against impeach­ing Home­land Secu­ri­ty Sec­re­tary Ale­jan­dro May­orkas. The result leaves Repub­li­cans with 217 seats in the 435-mem­ber House.

The House has begun a two-week East­er recess, so the ear­li­est Greene can bring up her motion is April 8th. She was coy on tim­ing Fri­day, telling reporters: “It’s more a warn­ing than a pink slip. We need a new Speaker.”

But Greene, a lime­light seek­er on a par with Cinderella’s step­sis­ters, added: “The clock has start­ed. It’s time for our con­fer­ence to pick a new leader.”

The abil­i­ty to gov­ern is the acid test of pol­i­tics, but acid rain is falling on the “people’s house.” But ultra MAGA extrem­ists do not know how to gov­ern and do not want to govern.

Years ago in Cal­i­for­nia, Ronald Rea­gan insti­tut­ed a com­mand­ment in his par­ty; “Though shalt not speak ill of any Republican.”

Well, that was then. In today’s House, even the cra­zies are at each oth­er’s throats. Greene was a McCarthy boost­er, hav­ing sold her sup­port for good com­mit­tee assign­ments. She took out after Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Matt Gaetz, R‑Florida, who brought the motion against the Speak­er. In turn, on Fri­day, Gaetz was back­ing John­son and lay­ing into Greene.

If John­son sur­vives a vote to vacate the Speaker’s office, he will need sup­port from the chamber’s 213 Democ­rats, soon to be 214 after a safe­ly Demo­c­ra­t­ic seat is filled by a spe­cial elec­tion in New York. (With Gal­lagher and Buck leav­ing, four for­mer­ly Repub­li­can seats are cur­rent­ly or soon vacant.)

Hav­ing spent years secur­ing cov­et­ed posi­tions in the House, promi­nent fig­ures are soon to leave. House Appro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tee Chair Kay Granger, R‑Texas, is quit­ting her com­mit­tee post and not seek­ing reelec­tion. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers, R‑Washington, chair of the House Ener­gy and Com­merce Com­mit­tee, is hang­ing it up. So is Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Patrick McHen­ry, R‑North Car­oli­na, chair of the House Finan­cial Ser­vices Committee.

Gal­lagher, 39, is already a four-term vet­er­an and chair of the House Select Com­mit­tee on Com­mu­nist Chi­na. He had just steered pas­sage of leg­is­la­tion to force ByteDance to divest TikTok. 

He said lit­tle about leav­ing ear­ly, only that he’s doing so “after con­ver­sa­tions with my fam­i­ly.” Under Wis­con­sin law, his seat will not be filled until the Novem­ber election.

Once known for bloody lead­er­ship wars, House Democ­rats vot­ed with near uni­ty under Speak­er Emeri­ta Nan­cy Pelosi and — with a thin major­i­ty — suc­ceed­ed in pass­ing major leg­is­la­tion such as the Amer­i­can Res­cue Act and the Infla­tion Reduc­tion Act in the first two years of the Biden-Har­ris administration.

The uni­ty has con­tin­ued under Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Hakeem Jef­fries, D‑New York, picked unan­i­mous­ly as Pelosi’s suc­ces­sor as Demo­c­ra­t­ic leader.

By con­trast, on Fri­day, 100 House Repub­li­cans sup­port­ed the big appro­pri­a­tions bill while 109 opposed it. One “nay” vote came from Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers.

About the author

Joel Connelly is a Northwest Progressive Institute contributor who has reported on multiple presidential campaigns and from many national political conventions. During his career at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, he interviewed Presidents Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and George H.W. Bush. He has covered Canada from Trudeau to Trudeau, written about the fiscal meltdown of the nuclear energy obsessed WPPSS consortium (pronounced "Whoops") and public lands battles dating back to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.

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