Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s procedural delay tactic, which has increasingly become a regular part of House of Representatives business, could be blocked if some Democrats get their way.
The firebrand Georgia freshman congresswoman on Wednesday made her fourth motion to adjourn in three weeks as a delay tactic before the House passed the $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan.” The unannounced roll call votes forced members of Congress to stop other business.
During the coronavirus pandemic, the motion does much more to delay floor business because each roll call vote is allotted an extended time of 45 minutes to encourage social distancing.
Though the motions have failed each time, the disruptive move so frustrates members that Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline, chairman of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, said he plans to propose a House rule change that will allow only members who are on House committees to call a motion to adjourn.
“I’m dead serious,” he told the Hill press pool.
That change would only apply to one member: Greene, who Democrats stripped of her committee assignments Feb. 4 in a mostly party-line vote following outrage about her past comments in support of conspiracy theories.
Cicilline hasn’t proposed the rule change, and it is unclear whether Democratic leadership will support it. California Rep. Pete Aguilar, vice chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, told the Washington Examiner on Thursday that he first heard about Cicilline’s proposal in the press and that the caucus hasn’t discussed it.
Other House Democrats who spoke to the Washington Examiner were open to the idea, though. Another solution might be to limit the number of times in a congressional session that a single member could make a motion to adjourn.
Catholic University professor and politics department Chairman Matthew Green — that’s Green without the silent “e” like the Georgia congresswoman, with whom he has no known relation — warned that a quick rule change might be bad for Democrats.
“It’s Pelosi and the Democrats’ interest, frankly, to let this play itself out,” Green said. “Being so quick to change the rules actually indicates that the leaders of both parties have less power than you think over their own members.”