House Kills Greene Motion to Oust Speaker Johnson

House Kills Greene Motion to Oust Speaker Johnson

The speaker easily survived Greene's revolt.
By Yuval Rosenberg and Michael Rainey
Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Good evening! In an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote supported by large majorities of both Republicans and Democrats, the House just killed GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s motion to oust Speaker Mike Johnson. We’ve got details.

House Resoundingly Defeats Greene Motion to Oust Speaker Johnson

The House on Wednesday afternoon quickly dispensed with Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s motion to oust Speaker Mike Johnson.

After a couple days of discussions with Johnson, Greene moved late Wednesday to force a vote on a motion she had filed in late March seeking Johnson’s removal. Her call, which reportedly caught Republican leaders off guard, was met with loud boos and jeers from her colleagues on the House floor.

House leaders technically had two days to schedule a vote on Johnson’s future, but they didn’t wait and instead moved immediately to table, or kill, Greene’s motion.

The 359-43 vote saw 196 Republicans joined by 163 Democrats in saving Johnson’s job. Just 11 Republicans and 32 Democrats voted against killing the motion, while seven Democrats voted “present.”

After the vote, Johnson called Greene’s effort a distraction. He emphasized that the speaker “serves the whole House” and that the country needs a functioning Congress. “Hopefully this is the end of the personality politics and the frivolous character assassination that has defined the 118th Congress,” he said. “It’s regrettable, it’s not who we are as Americans and we’re better than this.”

Greene brought her motion after the House had cast what was supposed to be one of its final votes for the week, passing a one-week extension of Federal Aviation Administration programs set to expire on Friday. She also moved ahead even though former President Donald Trump had urged against it, including in a social media post on Wednesday.

“With a Majority of One, shortly growing to three or four, we’re not in a position of voting on a Motion to Vacate. At some point, we may very well be, but this is not the time,” he wrote, urging party unity while also writing that he loves Greene. Trump added: “Mike Johnson is a good man who is trying very hard. I also wish certain things were done over the last period of two months, but we will get them done, together. It is my request that Republicans vote for ‘THE MOTION TO TABLE.’”

What’s next: Earlier in the day, House Republican leaders canceled votes on Thursday, meaning that lawmakers could depart for the week after Wednesday’s business was completed. Congress doesn’t have all that much pressing legislative business right now. As The Washington Post noted this morning: “There’s not much left to do before the election, anyway. Other than the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill, which is being debated in the Senate, all of the must-pass bills have been completed or are likely to be punted until after the election.”

But Greene’s motion illustrates just how GOP infighting and political intrigue could continue as election season heats up. Only 180 days to go!

Biden Touts Economic Policies — and Tweaks a Noted Trump Failure

President Biden on Wednesday highlighted his “Investing in America” economic strategy in a visit to the site of a Microsoft data center being constructed in Racine, Wisconsin — the same place where former President Donald Trump in 2018 hailed the development of a $10 billion high-tech Foxconn plant that never came to fruition.

Microsoft, which purchased the lightly used site for $50 million in 2023, said it plans to spend $3.3 billion by the end of 2026 to build a facility to support artificial intelligence. According to the White House, the project will provide 2,300 construction jobs and 2,000 permanent jobs once the project is complete.

“President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is growing the economy from the middle-out and bottom-up, giving Americans more breathing room, and unleashing hundreds of billions of dollars of private sector investment in industries of the future, including AI, clean energy, semiconductors, and more,” the White House said in a statement.

Microsoft President Brad Smith credited the Biden administration’s policies on infrastructure, high-tech manufacturing and climate change for laying the groundwork for investments like the one announced Wednesday. The tech giant will work with a local technical college to train people for the data center and business leaders to work in the rapidly developing field of artificial intelligence. “We will train over 100,000 people in Wisconsin by the end of the decade so they have the AI skills to fill the jobs of tomorrow,” Smith said.

Biden was happy to take credit as he took aim at the “trickle-down” policies of the Trump administration, which he said failed to revive manufacturing in the U.S. “Folks, during the previous administration, my predecessor made promises, which he broke more than kept, left a lot of people behind in communities like Racine,” Biden said. “Foxconn turned out to be just that - a con,” he added. “They dug a hole with those golden shovels, and then they fell into it.”

The future of Biden’s policies: Biden has approved more than $1.6 trillion in spending to boost computer chip manufacturing, infrastructure repair and clean energy production in the U.S. But most of that funding has yet to be disbursed, raising questions about the future of Biden’s effort if Republicans expand their power in the fall election.

According to Politico’s Jessie Blaeser and Kelsey Tamborrino, the federal government has committed to spend about 17% of the money provided by Biden’s four major bills, including the CHIPS and Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act, for a total of roughly $300 billion. Actual spending has been lower, in a range between $125 billion and $186 billion.

One reason spending is far below the appropriated levels is that it takes time to select recipients of targeted loans and grants, and then more time to negotiate terms, Blaeser and Tamborrino say. “For instance, states that want federal funding for electric vehicle chargers must first compile plans for using the money. For large-scale infrastructure projects, recipients typically have to do the work before Washington reimburses them. That lengthy process can take years,” they write.

Politically, that could be a problem for Biden. With most of the funds still unspent, fewer people have seen the beneficial effects of the spending than otherwise would be the case, limiting the potential pollical boost among voters at the ballot box. And a Trump victory in November could mean that much of the planned spending gets reduced or even canceled, effectively ending Biden’s grand experiment in industrial policy for the 21st century.

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