Inside Marjorie Taylor Greene’s exile

More Republicans voted to strip Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of her committee assignments than to impeach Donald Trump — a punishment that will reverberate for a long time to come.

Democrats’ decision to boot Greene from panels for incendiary remarks she made before coming to Congress marks a new era of partisan warfare in the House, with the majority party controlling the conduct of minority members. But the support of 11 House Republicans for the move marked only the latest rift within the GOP as it tries to reclaim power, and Greene herself could make fresh problems for her party at her press conference this morning.

Let’s break down the vote.

BOOTED: Greene is in exile. Just days after she was assigned to the House Budget as well as Education and Labor panels, Democrats pushed ahead with a vote to remove her following renewed scrutiny for previously embracing social media posts and remarks that promoted violence against top House Democrats, called school shootings hoaxes and peddled dangerous conspiracy theories.

While Greene on Thursday sought to distance herself from some of her more controversial comments yesterday on the House floor, she did not offer a public apology. Rather, she conceded broadly that “school shootings are absolutely real” and “9/11 absolutely happened.” But she also attacked Big Tech, “cancel culture” and Black Lives Matter, while describing “a media that is just as guilty as QAnon of presenting lies that divide us,” an extraordinary comparison that brought a swift rebuke from the top Democrat on the Rules Committee.

This was not the same tone Greene took Wednesday night, where she denounced her previous views, telling her GOP colleagues during a closed-door meeting that she had embraced them at a time when she was angry at the direction of the country and that they did not reflect who she is anymore.

McCarthy and other Republicans, who have condemned her conduct, now warn Democrats are wading into dangerous territory of removing a member of the opposing party, even though no laws or House rules were violated in the process.

“If this is the new standard, I look forward to continuing out the standard,” McCarthy said in a floor speech before the vote, after previously knocking Democrats for making a “partisan power grab.”

Greene will share her thoughts during a press conference today at 11 a.m.

Heather and Sarah with the big story:

Meanwhile: Rep. Jimmy Gomez argues that Greene’s loss of committee seats is a good first step, but he is still pushing for expulsion. His NBC Op-Ed:

Related Reads: To her constituents, Greene is either an ‘embarrassment’ or a conservative champion by the AJC’s Jeremy Redmon and Tia Mitchell: | Ocasio-Cortez, other Democrats recount on House floor what they experienced during Capitol siege by WaPo’s Amy Wang and Colby Itkowitz:

A message from Independent Community Bankers of America:

Community bankers welcome the 117th Congress: The new Congress is closely divided at a time of historic challenge and opportunity, but it need not be gridlocked. Accounting for more than 3.5 million Paycheck Protection Program loans, community banks have been financial first responders amid the coronavirus pandemic. ICBA offers a bipartisan legislative agenda with common-sense reforms to continue moving our nation forward. Learn more

WHERE DO REPUBLICANS STAND? Heading into the Greene vote, it was unclear if any Republicans would discipline her. But 11 Republicans ultimately joined their Dem colleagues. Is this the unity McCarthy projected just one day before?

The GOP members include: Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart (Fla.), Brian Fitzpatrick (Penn.), Chris Jacobs (N.Y.), John Katko (N.Y.), Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), Chris Smith (N.J.), Fred Upton (Mich.) in addition to four GOP freshmen, who also sided with Democrats, offering a stunning rebuke to a member of their class, including: Reps. Carlos Gimenez (Fla.), Young Kim (Calif.), Nicole Malliotakis (N.Y.) and Maria Elvira Salazar (Fla.).

Notably, three of the 10 House Republicans who impeached Trump also joined this vote: Katko, Kinzinger and Upton.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo,), the most high profile GOP impeachment vote, voted no, arguing in a statement that it is “our responsibility as Republicans to address these issues inside our own conference.” With Cheney and other Republicans framing their votes as being about precedent and who bears such responsibility for discipline, and Democrats framing it as an act of QAnon disavowal or lack thereof.

GOP leaders began whipping support for Greene after last night’s conference meeting, when some rank-and-file members began pressing McCarthy and GOP leadership to actually back her after saying they did behind closed doors, a GOP lawmaker tells your Huddle host.

Apart from Republicans’ warnings about the potential for a tit-for-tat war to begin if Republicans take back the House — which is possible in 2022 — many are also privately warning that this will have another unintended consequence: Rather than undermine Greene’s strength, they may make her far more powerful.

She may become the new star of the party to Trump’s base, multiple Republicans told me, particularly among anti-establishment voters who see the outsider as being unfairly punished by the Democrats. Even prior to her removal, Greene revealed that she raised $1.6 million amid calls for her expulsion.

“It would be a dream come true if Democrats would kick me off my committees…I could fire my fundraiser,” one GOP lawmaker laughingly told your Huddle host, before noting they were serious. The same member argued that Dems are angering the GOP base like the Obama administration did, ahead of the 2010 burst of the Tea Party movement.

MCCARTHY’S GAME PLAN: On a plane ride back from Houston earlier this week, McCarthy revealed to a small group of Texas Republicans just how he planned to respond to the brewing fights over Cheney and Greene’s futures: He would try to save Cheney and prevent a floor vote that aimed to oust Greene from her panels.

The GOP leader tried to navigate between two competing factions in his conference, the Republican establishment and the pro-Trump wing, as he seeks to win back the House and the prized speaker’s gavel that comes with it. To get there, he decided the post-Trump GOP needs to be a big tent, even if it means bitter clashes and side shows from time to time.

Lots more from Mel, who reports out how McCarthy landed on his Cheney-Greene strategy:

Related Read: Republicans worry their big tent will mean big problems in 2022 elections by WaPo’s Michael Sherer and Josh Dawsey: | How the Illinois GOP is looking past national divide, seeking leader who can unite: ‘We’re all Republicans’ by Chicago Sun-Times’ Rachel Hinton and Andrew Sullender:

HAPPY FRIDAY! Welcome to Huddle, the play-by-play guide to all things Capitol Hill on this Feb. 5, where campaign fashion is already the talk of the town.

THURSDAY’S MOST CLICKED: Axios’ story on Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tutoring Dems on mastering social media was the big winner.

VOTE-A-RAMA: The Senate approved a budget resolution early this a.m. that allows Democrats to speedily pass Biden’s Covid relief aid plan without the need for Republican support. But its passage didn’t come easily.

Throughout the marathon voting session, Republicans introduced one amendment after another, forcing Democrats to take tedious and uncomfortable votes on a variety of issues. Notably, the Senate easily adopted an amendment from Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) that would ban a $15 minimum wage boost during the pandemic.

After nearly 15 hours and hundreds of amendments, the Senate’s “vote-a-rama” on Biden’s pandemic aid plan came to an end at roughly 5:35 a.m., with Vice President Kamala Harris casting her first tie-breaking votes (first on an amendment) to pass the resolution, which effectively unlocks the powerful reconciliation tool. Now it is over to the House, which has to approve the Senate’s changes.

Various committees in both chambers are tasked with beginning to write the legislative meat of the plan. And Biden and Harris are also slated to meet with House Democratic leaders and committee chairs to work on the “American Rescue Plan” in the Oval Office at 9:45 a.m. today. Caitlin Emma and Jennifer Scholtes have more:

TARGETED: During the vote-a-rama, the Senate in an overwhelming 99-1 vote approved a proposal led by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) that barrs “upper-income taxpayers” from eligibility for stimulus checks proposed by Biden, the latest sign that the next round of direct payments will be far more targeted than the rounds before it and that the bipartisan group of Senate negotiators aren’t done pushing their policies just yet. Burgess with more:

Related Reads: GOP puts minimum wage, school reopenings in Covid-19 aid spotlight by WSJ’S Andrew Duehren | Romney proposes child care benefit for families, fueling Democrats’ push by our Rebecca Rainey: | Schumer, White House at odds over how to cancel student loan debt by Michael Stratford:

NOT TAKING THE STAND: Trump won’t testify in the Senate’s upcoming impeachment trial.

Rep. Jamie Raskin, the lead impeachment manager, argued that the former president’s testimony was necessary because Trump’s lawyers have in their official response “denied many factual allegations set forth in the article of impeachment. Now, the Maryland Dem is claiming Trump’s refusal to testify “speaks volumes and plainly establishes an adverse inference supporting his guilt.” Andrew and Sarah with the story:

Related Read: ‘A kiss of death’: Tech alliances splinter over Hawley, Cruz election gambit by our Cristiano Limo:

FIRST IN HUDDLE: Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, the Democratic Caucus Chair, is kicking off the party’s Black History Month programming by hosting a Covid-style Zoom movie screening of “Truth to Power: Barbara Lee Speaks for Me” for members today. Members also received a tin of gourmet popcorn from a Black-owned business in Lee’s district to enjoy as they watch the movie.

SAYING FAREWELL: Tennessee’s Rep. Jim Cooper gives a beautiful tribute to his wife Martha, who died this morning after a struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. More here in the Tennessean:

DEM DEVELOPMENTS: ‘We’ve learned to love the guy’: How Biden charmed the left by Laura Barron-Lopez and Eugene Daniels: | New Senate intel chief wants to reimagine “decimated” spy agency by our Martin Matishak:

CENSURED: Kinzinger slapped with censure by Illinois county GOP by our Shia Kapos: | Sen. Ben Sasse slams Nebraska GOP committee’s plans to censure him for criticizing Trump by WaPo’s Amy Wang:

Outside the beltway: How Boebert’s Thursday town hall went, a thread by Colorado Sun’s Jesse Paul:



-The Senate Foreign Relations Committee advanced Biden’s nomination of Linda Thomas-Greenfield to be the U.S. ambassador to the UN in a 18 to 4 vote.

-The Senate Banking Committee advanced the nomination of Marcia Fudge to lead the HUD in a 17-7 vote Thursday, while the panel also unanimously approved Cecilia Rouse to be the chair of the Council of Economic Advisers.

-Ted Cruz puts a hold on Raimondo’s nomination for commerce secretary by WPRI’s Ted Nesi:

-Biden withdraws Judy Shelton’s Fed nomination by The Hill’s Sylvan Lane:

Check out Politico’s interactive on Joe Biden’s Cabinet: Who’s in, and who voted against them

Kaitlyn Dwyer is now the legislative director for Rep. Jodie Hice (R-Ga.), while Nathan Barker is the office’s new LA.

Heather Douglass is joining Pinkston, a strategic PR firm based in northern Virginia, on Monday as a Senior Account Executive after serving as comms director for Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas) since September 2019. She also previously worked for Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn) and the House Natural Resources Committee before that.

Marsha (Catron) Espinosa and Sarah Peck are joining DHS as assistant secretary for public affairs and comms director. Espinosa previously was COS for Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.). Peck previously worked in the DNC war room during the 2020 presidential election.

Blakely Wall is now finance director for Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.) after most recently working for the DSCC.

Josh Orton is now a senior policy adviser to the secretary at the Department of Labor after previously serving as a senior adviser to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

The House meets at 9 a.m. for legislative business.

The Senate stands adjourned until 3 p.m. on Monday.

9 a.m.: POLITICO hosts a briefing via webcast with former Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-Va.) to discuss the future of the Republican Party with Eugene Daniels.

1 p.m.: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) will hold a virtual news conference to announce the reintroduction of the “Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act” (FAMILY Act), which would “create a national paid family and medical leave program.”

THURSDAY’S WINNER: Marshal Shemtob was the first person to correctly guess that Chief Justice John Roberts administered the oath of office to President Barack Obama four times.

TODAY’S QUESTION: From Marshal: How many post-Civil war lawmakers have been expelled from the House? List their names and states.

The first person to correctly guess gets a mention in the next edition of Huddle. Send your answer to [email protected].

GET HUDDLE emailed to your phone each morning.

A message from the Independent Community Bankers of America:

Community bankers and ICBA offer a bipartisan agenda: Community bankers welcome the 117th Congress at a time of historic challenge and opportunity. While the new Congress is closely divided, it need not be gridlocked. Employing more than 700,000 Americans across nearly 50,000 locations with a presence in every congressional district, community banks have a track record of working with both parties to craft pragmatic solutions grounded in consensus. ICBA’s bipartisan legislative agenda for the 117th Congress offers common-sense policy reforms that will continue our economic recovery in urban, suburban, and rural communities nationwide. Learn more

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