“It is clear there is no alternative to holding a Floor vote on the resolution to remove Rep. Greene from her committee assignments,” Hoyer said in a statement after his phone call with McCarthy.
The House Rules Committee will meet Wednesday afternoon on the resolution with a House floor vote planned for Thursday. Greene has come under fire for a string of comments she made — many before coming to Congress — including suggesting the Sandy Hook and Parkland school shootings are a hoax and endorsing violence against Democrats, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Democrats’ decision to move ahead comes as McCarthy has been scrambling to avoid what could be an embarrassing floor vote for Republicans, forcing them to go on the record against a Donald Trump-aligned colleague many would rather not even acknowledge.
Yet some Republicans are wary of disciplining a member for comments she made before coming to Congress. And further compounding their anxiety, Democrats are already signaling they plan to make the GOP’s ties to QAnon a central campaign theme in 2022.
On a private call with Democrats earlier Wednesday, Hoyer telegraphed that he was unlikely to extend McCarthy a lifeline on the issue, saying the GOP leader stripped another controversial Republican, Iowa Rep. Steve King, of his committee posts in 2019 for defending the term “white supremacist.”
King’s comments were “far less egregious and incendiary” than Greene’s behavior, Hoyer told his caucus. Greene, meanwhile, has scrubbed some of her past social media posts but has declared she will “never” apologize and says she continues to have the full support of Trump. She was one of more prominent backers of election fraud conspiracy theories touted by Trump.
Democrats have been outraged by Greene’s past comments and her more recent actions in the run up to the deadly Capitol riots on Jan. 6, with several members wanting to go further and censure or expel the freshman Republican. So far, Democratic leaders have tried to temper those efforts until after federal investigators conclude their probes into the Capitol attack, which could reveal which, if any, Republicans were involved.
Hoping to head off the floor vote, McCarthy has tried to deal with the matter internally. During a one-on-one meeting Tuesday evening, McCarthy tried to get Greene to apologize or voluntarily relinquish her committee posts, POLITICO first reported. But she refused, so McCarthy convened an emergency meeting of the GOP Steering Committee, where members discussed removing or reassigning Greene to a new committee.
The hourlong meeting wrapped without making any final decisions, with McCarthy telling members he wanted to speak with Hoyer before they proceeded. The Steering panel — which would need to approve any committee changes — could meet Wednesday to resume deliberations.
But with the outcome all-but-determined and Greene seemingly bound to lose her committees anyway, some Republicans want their leadership to take action on their own terms — and prevent the entire conference from having to take a stance on the issue.