Speaker Johnson says conversations with Greene ‘not a negotiation’

Speaker Johnson says conversations with Greene ‘not a negotiation’

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) rejected the notion that he is negotiating with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) on Tuesday as she threatens to force a vote on his ouster, characterizing their meeting the day prior as an ordinary conversation to hear out the Georgia Republican’s ideas.

Johnson huddled with Greene and Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) — who have introduced a motion to remove the Speaker’s gavel — for roughly two hours Monday, and they are scheduled to reconvene for another discussion early Tuesday afternoon.

Greene and Massie announced last week that they would move to force a vote on Johnson’s ouster this week. The resolution is all but certain to fail due to opposition from conservative Republicans, as well as Democrats, but the vote would still risk putting Johnson in the tenuous position of being a Republican Speaker propped up by Democrats.

Johnson argued Tuesday that his meetings with Greene and Massie are similar to other discussions he has had with GOP lawmakers during various legislative fights in the six months since he won the Speakership.

“Yesterday I met at some length with Marjorie Taylor Greene and Thomas Massie. It was a good discussion; I thought it was productive. We’ll visit again today. It’s not a negotiation,” Johnson said. “This is how I’ve operated as Speaker. I committed to do it before I became Speaker, and we’ve been doing this for the last six months.”

“What I do every day … is, almost on an hourly basis, is I hear suggestions and ideas and thoughts from members. My door has been open from day 1; everybody knows that. I mean, I spend endless hours at this. There’s nothing unusual about this,” he later added. “I heard Marjorie and Thomas’s ideas, just like I have every day for the last six months heard others.”

Greene publicly laid four demands for Johnson ahead of their Tuesday afternoon meeting: only bring bills to the floor that have support from a majority of the GOP conference, a practice known as a Hastert rule; commit to not passing any additional aid for Ukraine; defund special counsels, including Jack Smith, who is investigating former President Trump; and impose a 1-percent spending cut across the board if Congress does not complete its regular appropriations process by Sept. 30.

During an interview with Steve Bannon on his “War Room” podcast Tuesday, the Georgia Republican said her path forward on the motion to vacate will hinge on how Johnson reacts to her requests.

“What I’m demanding is simple, is we need to act like Republicans. We need to demand control and we need to stop the government from being used for politics. This isn’t hard. This is not complicated. And we’ll see how that meeting goes,” Greene said. “I have high expectations, and they have to be met in full. There is no middle ground, there is no compromise. And Steve, we’ll see what he comes out with.”

Greene emerged from Monday’s meeting declining to say when — or if — she planned to force a vote on Johnson’s ouster, a change of tune from last week, when she said she would “absolutely” call her removal resolution to the floor.

Her comments, list of demands, and the fact that she requested the Monday meeting with Johnson signaled that she is considering an offramp.

Johnson said Tuesday that he is listening to the duo’s requests.

“I take Marjorie’s ideas and Thomas’s and everybody else’s equally, and we asses them on their own value, and where we can make improvements and changes and all of that we do. And that’s what this is,” he said. “There’s nothing more than that going on.”

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