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Four questions about the new effort to oust Mike Johnson, answered

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) threw the GOP-led House into fresh chaos Friday by filing a motion to vacate Speaker Mike Johnson, just half a year into his speakership.

Many Republicans and Democrats alike slammed the move as counterproductive — and few are sure it would even succeed at this point. “So unfortunate, no respect for the integrity of the House,” former Speaker Nancy Pelosi told POLITICO. “But a logical consequence of what [Kevin] McCarthy had to do to get elected speaker.”

Others were blunter: “Would I support it? Are you fucking kidding me?” asked Rep. Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.), one of the most endangered House Republicans.

But what did Greene’s Friday move actually mean? Here are some answers:

What did Marjorie Taylor Greene just do?

Greene filed a motion to vacate — the same procedural move used last year to oust McCarthy that threw the GOP conference into a internecine maelstrom as they searched for a new leader.

What Greene did not do was trigger action on the motion, or start any kind of clock for the House to consider her proposal to boot Johnson from the speakership. It doesn’t guarantee action on the proposal at all.

Greene said Friday she was not looking for a repeat of the weeks of mayhem that followed the removal and will be trying to formulate a plan for electing a new leader before triggering the resolution. The House is set to go on a two-week Easter and Passover recess, which will either give Greene time to rally allies against Johnson or for opponents — including some Democrats — to come together to defeat her proposal.

Greene said Friday she believes GOP voters do not “want to see a Republican speaker that’s held in place by Democrats.”

Her charge against Johnson: He has passed multiple spending bills without the majority of Republicans in support, leaning heavily on Democratic votes.

Why is ‘privilege’ important to this resolution?

It’s wonky, but deeming something privileged is a way to go around House leadership and compel a floor vote. In practice, leaders must schedule votes on privileged items within two legislative days.

The tool has been used frequently — and prominently — this Congress. Members used it boot McCarthy, as well as to force votes to censure Democratic Reps. Jamaal Bowman (N.Y.) and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.). Members also expelled former Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) using a privileged resolution.

McCarthy agreed to set the threshold at just one member to force a vote on a motion to vacate as part of his initial bargain with hard-line conservatives to win the speakership. According to the Congressional Research Service, lawmakers raised 140 questions of the privileges of the House between 1995 and 2015 — of which, 73 percent were deemed valid.

Is the House definitely going to vote on this in two weeks?

There’s no guarantee of that. Greene had the option to speed up consideration of her proposal, but instead chose a slow path that will loom over House Republicans as they head home for recess.

Greene could have called up her resolution on the House floor Friday and forced a decision sooner. Instead, she is sitting on what amounts to a threat against Johnson’s leadership.

“I’m not saying that it won’t happen in two weeks, or it won’t happen in a month, or who knows when,” Greene said Friday.

Remember: Even during recess, there are legislative days. Pro forma sessions count as legislative days, but there’s no expectation for any action before the House returns in April.

If they do, will Johnson definitely get the ax?

In short, no. Many of the eight GOP “rebels” who tossed former Speaker Kevin McCarthy last fall indicated they weren’t on board yet with this latest effort.

Democrats are floating the idea of helping Johnson hold onto the gavel if he promises a floor vote on aid to Ukraine, as many have sought for months. “If Speaker Johnson has a plan for aid to Ukraine, I’m sure a lot of Democrats would love to hear about it,” Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) told POLITICO.

Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries didn’t commit to saving Johnson, despite allusions to the possibility previously, saying that conversation would need to happen among House Democrats. “That was an observation not a declaration,” he told reporters of previously suggesting Democrats might save Johnson

Asked by a POLITICO reporter Friday if he was worried about the motion to vacate threat, Johnson merely shook his head.

Jordain Carney contributed to this report.

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