Johnson and Greene meet again as speaker faces threat of ouster vote

House Speaker Mike Johnson and GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene met again Tuesday as the Georgia congresswoman continues to dangle the threat of an ouster vote against the speaker – but it remains unclear if they will reach a resolution that will hold off the vote.

Following their second meeting, Greene would not specify when she may force the vote and wouldn’t commit to moving to oust the speaker this week, but she said that Johnson has a “pretty short” window to act on a list of demands. A vote to remove the speaker is certain to fail, however, since House Democrats have announced they would vote to kill her motion.

“Right now, the ball is in Mike Johnson’s court,” Greene told CNN’s Manu Raju. “We’re interested to see his actions, not his words.”

The demands she referenced include Johnson committing to the so-called Hastert Rule, which states that a majority of the majority have to support every bill that comes to the floor; defunding special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into former President Donald Trump; no more aid for Ukraine; and a 1% slash to the federal budget if they can’t process 12 separate appropriations bills for fiscal year 2025.

Greene said that they are waiting for the speaker to reach back out to them with a response. She added that they didn’t give him a deadline to get back to them.

“We didn’t give a specific timeline, but it’s pretty short,” she said.

Asked if she still plans to force an ouster vote this week – as she previously had said that she would – Greene said, “Well we’ll see. It’s up to Mike Johnson.”

Later on Tuesday, Johnson would not say if he would meet the asks.

“We are having discussions. That’s all,” Johnson told CNN.

Johnson also called the talks “productive” and said he is “optimistic” they can get to a resolution.

“We’re working through a lot of ideas and suggestions, as I said, as I do with all members of the conference. That’s part of the process here,” he told reporters. “And so I’m optimistic that we can get to some resolutions.”

Johnson and Greene met for around two hours on Monday and after that meeting Greene declined to provide details about what was discussed or say if she would still force a vote seeking his ouster this week.

Johnson has defended his leadership against the threat, saying that he will not resign and warning that a vote to oust him could cause chaos in the House.

On Tuesday ahead of the meeting, Johnson emphasized close his ties to Trump and projected confidence, saying he intends “to lead this conference in the future” and that he is “glad to have the support of President Trump.”

Johnson insisted his meetings are not a negotiation and that he seeks input from all his members.

“It’s not a negotiation,” he said. “Everybody knows I have lengthy discussions, detailed discussions on a daily basis with members across the conference, there are 217 of us, it takes a lot of time,” he told reporters.

Trump and Greene have spoken on the phone about her motion, multiple sources with knowledge of the call told CNN.

Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky, one of the three Republicans publicly pushing for Johnson’s ouster, said he and Greene are giving Johnson “one last chance” to agree to several “suggestions” ahead of Tuesday’s meeting.

“I think Marjorie has been very measured and reasonable about this and logical, and she and I decided to give Speaker Johnson one last chance to say he’s going to be with the Republicans and not with the Democrats,” Massie told CNN. “And there are sort of some litmus tests on that, but these are things that matter to the conference.”

Republicans voice concerns over empowering Greene

Many Republicans oppose the push to oust Johnson, not wanting to see the conference devolve into bitter infighting like it did after former Speaker Kevin McCarthy was ousted in a historic and unprecedented vote last year.

Johnson briefly addressed his ongoing conversation with Greene during a news conference, but declined to give any specific details.

Some Republican House members voiced concerns Tuesday about empowering Greene any further by giving into any demands.

“I think if you negotiate with two members who want something, you are going to lose 30 members of the conference who want something else and I think he knows that,” Rep. Kelly Armstrong, a North Dakota Republican, said. “I would always hesitate to agree to anything when you know the goal posts are going to move within five minutes.”

Rep. Carlos Gimenez, a Florida Republican, said, “I don’t deal with terrorists.”

“I don’t deal with people who are threatening me. Never have, Never will,” Gimenez said. “If I don’t, I don’t think he should either.”

But a narrow majority has given Johnson few options in this moment as the speaker wants to avoid the spectacle on the floor months ahead of the election.

“The speaker is dealing in practical arts here not philosophical ones, so I am going to stand by him in his decisions,” said Rep. John Duarte, a California Republican. “I think it is utterly regrettable that these very small minority of members are putting the speaker in this very difficult spot at a time when we should be focusing on the things that matter to the American people.”

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise said that the speaker simply has “an open door policy” and meets with anybody who has an issue they want to bring to him.

Scalise didn’t want to get into specifics of what Greene and Massie were asking for. But when asked about potentially vowing not to bring up additional Ukraine aid, Scalise said that more aid for Ukraine probably wasn’t coming up soon anyway.

“If you look at the last Ukraine bill, it took months for that coalition to come together,” he said.

Asked if he had any concerns that agreeing to anything with Greene could empower her, Scalise said, “All our members are empowered right now. It is a time where everybody knows we either all move in the same direction or we are not going to be able to advance our agenda for that particular week. We’ve got to stay united.”

Meanwhile, Johnson has been taking steps to reach out to his right flank. Johnson met with the conservative House Freedom Caucus Monday night, according to a source familiar. Greene was booted from the caucus in July 2023.

This story and headline have been updated with additional developments.

CNN’s Manu Raju, Kristen Holmes, Melanie Zanona and Kristin Wilson contributed.

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