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What MTG wants from Mike Johnson

1 month ago 47

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) has named her price for backing down on her threat to call a vote on Speaker Mike Johnson's removal.

In a nearly two-hour long meeting yesterday requested by Greene to explore potential off-ramps, the MAGA firebrand and allied Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) outlined several policy demands they are seeking before calling off their plans.

They include, according to people familiar with the talks:

  • No further aid for Ukraine;
  • A return to the “Hastert Rule,” meaning no legislation is brought to a vote without support from a majority of the House majority;
  • Defunding the special counsel probes into former President Donald Trump in upcoming appropriations; and
  • Enforcement of the “Massie Rule,” whereby government funding is automatically cut across the board if no superseding agreement is reached before a set deadline.

They’ll meet again today at 12:30 p.m. in hopes of finding a detente. Spokespeople for Greene and Johnson declined to comment on their discussions, but the speaker struck a conciliatory note after yesterday’s meeting, sympathizing with Greene and pledging to “keep this team together.”
Make no mistake, though, the pressure for Republican party unity in an election year is weighing on Greene, who is battling exasperated GOP colleagues and skepticism from the party's unquestioned leader, Trump.

Johnson could be in a position to grant at least some of Greene's asks. Since this Congress has effectively finished passing controversial, must-do items such as funding the government, raising the debt ceiling and extending surveillance authorities, Johnson can probably stick to the Hastert Rule (named for former, now-disgraced speaker Dennis Hastert).

Democrats agreed to a version of the Massie Rule during last year’s spending talks with then-speaker Kevin McCarthy — so Johnson could probably go there as well.

On Ukraine, Congress just sent Kyiv $60 billion in aid — enough to last through the year by most estimates, though Greene might also want to strike an expected nine-figure aid authorization in the annual Pentagon policy bill that’s expected to move later this year.

But defunding special counsel Jack Smith's Trump investigations could be much trickier. Front-line Republicans in the past have balked at such demands, to say nothing of Democrats. If Greene is expecting Johnson to put up a fight on a much-anticipated September continuing resolution, that would be a recipe for a federal shutdown just weeks before the election.

The two sides don’t have a deal yet — and might never get one — but it’s clear temperatures are dropping. A handshake solution, after all, is in the interest of both parties: It would spare Johnson a risky vote where he’d be relying on the generosity of Democrats to save his gavel.

And for Greene, her relationship with Trump and his inner circle is on the line, we’re told. The former president “could not have been clearer,” one person close to him said last night, in signaling that he isn’t interested in any more intraparty drama this election season.

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