Marjorie Taylor Greene revives obsession with 'space lasers', this time in bid to sabotage Ukraine aid

Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene offered a bewildering amendment to a bill to supply military assistance to Israel on the issue of border security on Wednesday, further complicating her duel with Speaker Mike Johnson and drawing criticism that she is unserious.

She suggested that the Israel aid bill should also involve setting up a space laser to help control migration at the US-Mexico border.

It is not the first time she’s referenced such extraterrestrial hardware: before being elected she suggested that California forest fires were being started by a space laser partly owned by a prominent Jewish banking family. She later denied being antisemitic, insisting she had no idea the Rothschild family were Jewish.

When asked about the claims recently by a British journalist she suggested they “f*** off”.

The Georgia representative is currently one of two Republicans cosponsoring a motion to oust Mr Johnson from the speakership, the other being Kentucky’s Thomas Massie who joined her effort this week. At the heart of her conflict with the speaker is a planned vote on military assistance to Ukraine on Saturday; Ms Greene opposes more military assistance for the eastern European nation as it continues to face a Russian onslaught.

As part of the Speaker’s plan to pass the Ukraine assistance bill, the House is set to vote on five individual pieces of legislation over the next few days.

Three are part of the so-called national security “supplemental”: the Ukraine bill, and two others dealing with military aid to Israel and Taiwan. A fourth deals with the border, and contains some provisions of the bill passed by the House last year — HR 2, which would have changed the standards for releasing undocumented immigrants after they are caught entering the country illegally. A final bill deals with another range of issues including frozen Russian assets in the US financial system as well as efforts to force the sale of TikTok.

Ms Greene on Wednesday announced an amendment to the Israel funding bill that would direct some funding to develop “space laser” technology on the US-Mexico border. She defended the amendment on Twitter, writing: “Israel has some of the best unmanned defense systems in the world. I’ve previously voted to fund space lasers for Israel’s defense. America needs to take our national security seriously and deserves the same type of defense for our border that Israel has and proudly uses.”

There are several things wrong with that statement; for starters, space lasers are not part of Israel’s defence grid and only recently did the US military begin development of a “laser power beaming” experiment based in Earth’s orbit.

Then, there’s the other issue: the fact that the US government is not using force against migrants seeking to cross the southern border illegally, or outside of allowed ports of entry. The defences cited by Ms Greene in Israel include systems such as missile defence which would have no purpose outside of a combat zone.

The border security bill set to be passed alongside the Ukraine/Israel/Taiwan legislation will never become law, at least under the current politics of Congress. It is fiercely opposed by Democrats, who opposed the provisions in unison when HR 2 passed the House last year. The GOP immigration bill passed last year by the lower chamber has yet to even get a vote in the Senate, and likely will not under a Democratic majority. The same goes for the upcoming Republican bill to which Ms Greene has attached her amendment.

Ms Greene offered another amendment this week suggesting that anyone who does vote to support Ukraine’s struggle to repel the Russian invasion should be required to be conscripted into the Ukrainian military.

Ms Greene’s rebellion against the speaker has yet to pick up any further support beyond Mr Massie, but on Thursday it appeared that Mr Johnson was facing quite a few more GOP defections on the upcoming House votes on foreign aid. The speaker was seen on the House floor in heated conversations with hardline conservatives like Matt Gaetz, who led the ouster of Mr Johnson’s predecessor last fall.

Democrats appear likely to offer Mr Johnson a lifeline if Ms Greene brings her motion to vacate to the floor.

“We’ve got to pass [the national security supplemental package] and it’s got to include the humanitarian aid [for Gaza],” Democratic Rep Brad Sherman told The Independent on Tuesday. “I think if he does that, and then there’s a motion to vacate the speakership because he did the right thing, even if he did it in four separate notebooks on unlimited colored papers, the Democrats will not allow it [the motion to vacate] to pass.”