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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to what happens if Greene tries to oust Speaker Johnson

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) had threaten to call a vote to remove Mike Johnson as Speaker of the House, but the representative from Georgia has yet to make her move.

So far, it’s been all talk and no action from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and her threat to call a vote to remove House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.).

Greene introduced her resolution to call a vote of no confidence on the floor for the Speaker 38 days ago. But Greene has not triggered her resolution. Doing so would compel the House to act on her resolution either immediately or schedule it within two legislative days. 

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It is believed that Greene would likely lose in her effort to dump Johnson. Some Republicans support removing Johnson. But Democrats might back him up – especially after avoiding multiple government shutdown scenarios and advancing the foreign aid package.

Democrats could vote in favor of retaining Johnson – or simply "take a walk." If Democrats don’t vote, that helps Johnson, changing the math in the House necessary to remove the Speaker.

It should be noted that another member besides Greene could trigger the resolution to "vacate the chair" and force the House to tangle with the possibility of removing the Speaker.

Or, in a particularly audacious move, Johnson himself or an ally could trigger the resolution, confident that their forces will defeat Greene soundly. Such a scenario could embarrass Greene and likely euthanize any effort to remove the Speaker for the rest of the Congress.

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Here’s what happens if Greene’s resolution is triggered:

The first vote is likely on a motion to table or kill the resolution. If the House votes to table, the gig is up. The House will have vanquished Greene’s effort.

However, if the motion to table fails, the House then immediately votes, up or down, on whether to remove Johnson. This is the actual "motion to vacate the chair."

If the House votes in favor of removing Johnson, chaos ensues.

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The House ceases to function, much like last fall when members removed former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). The House is paralyzed and cannot take any legislative action until it picks a new Speaker. An acting Speaker Pro Tempore, like House Financial Services Committee Chairman Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) would take over. But they would have little power other than to gavel the House into session and out.

By rule, the next order of business is for the House to take names in nomination for a new Speaker. The House then votes on Speaker. In the case of last fall, it took several days before the House was even ready to consider a new Speaker. The Speakership sat vacant for 22 days.

The full House selects a Speaker. The successful candidate is someone who receives the outright majority of all House Members casting a ballot for someone by name. The Speaker of the House does not need to be a Member. 

And, it will be about the math. Here is the present breakdown in the House:

429 members.

217 Republicans, 212 Democrats.

Six vacancies.

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