Back in January, the New York Times reported on what it described as the unlikely but “ironclad bond” between the then newly-elected speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who during her first term in Congress was not known for having close ties to House leadership.
Greene, who had previously been banned from Congressional committees, supported McCarthy’s candidacy for the speakership, while many of her fellow hardliners opposed it. Greene, perhaps in exchange, or perhaps as a token of their new alliance, was once again allowed to serve on committees.
In the months since, Greene has stayed close to McCarthy, supporting his debt ceiling deal with President Biden and not participating in threats, pushed by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and others, to remove McCarthy as speaker.
She and Gaetz even had a social media back-and-forth last week over which of them deserves more credit for McCarthy’s agreeing to go forward with an impeachment inquiry.
A Division of War
However, this week Marjorie Taylor Greene and McCarthy ended up on opposite sides of a big issue: funding for Ukraine.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Greene has expressed opposition to a defense appropriations bill favored by McCarthy, because it includes new aid for Ukraine. This happened while Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, was in Washington to meet with President Biden and other lawmakers. McCarthy also denied a request by Zelensky to address a joint session of Congress, which he did last December, stating that “we just didn’t have time.”
Zelensky later told reporters that McCarthy told him that he supports additional Ukraine aid, but that his critics feel differently.
“He said that they will be on our side — it’s not simple — that they will support,” Zelensky said, per The Hill. The Ukrainian president had also visited the United Nations and made an appeal there during his visit to the United States.
“Every single member of the U.S. military AND every member of Congress swears an oath to the United States of America,” Greene wrote this week on X, the former Twitter. “Our nation is being invaded at our Southern border. I’m not voting for the rule or the bill because it funds the war in Ukraine, while we’re not defending our own country.”
“The House bill includes $300 million for Ukraine, which I will not vote for. To cut spending and please the members that don’t want to vote for Ukraine, let’s take out the $300 M for Ukraine and pass this otherwise great bill,” Greene had said on the same platform a week earlier.
Marjorie Taylor Greene was one of his six Republicans who voted against the bill, which is two more than McCarthy had stood to lose without any Democratic votes.
The cleave comes as the House descends into chaos, with McCarthy’s right flank rebelling against him, and the possibility of a government shutdown just over a week away if a bill isn’t passed to continue funding the government.
McCarthy has been trying to pass appropriations bills individually but hasn’t been able to do that either. And even if McCarthy can pass a spending formula that would pass muster with his caucus’ right flank, that would be unlikely to be passable in the Senate, which has a Democratic majority. On Thursday, the speaker sent House members home for the week.
Per CNN, the whole process has left McCarthy “visibly frustrated.”
“It’s frustrating in the sense that I don’t understand why anybody votes against bringing the idea and having the debate,” the speaker told the press on Thursday.
Marjorie Taylor Greene announced earlier this week that her autobiography, “MTG,” will be released this November.
Author Expertise and Experience
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Stephen has authored thousands of articles over the years that focus on politics, technology, and the economy for over a decade. Follow him on X (formerly Twitter) at @StephenSilver, and subscribe to his Substack newsletter.