The U.S. House of Representatives has voted not to allow a GOP congresswoman to join the House education committee, following a storm of controversy over her support for claims that school shootings were false flag operations or somehow staged.
In a Thursday vote, the House decided to bar Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., from taking a position on two committees, Education and Labor and Budget, that House Republican leaders assigned her to last week. The vote was 230-199, with 11 Republicans joining 219 Democrats.
Greene reportedly apologized to GOP colleagues at a closed-door meeting on Wednesday about her comments about school shootings, which were posted on social media before her election to Congress in November. And on the House floor Thursday, she told her colleagues, “School shootings are absolutely real. And every child that is lost, those families mourn it.” She called her prior social media posts “words of the past” that don’t represent her, but didn’t apologize directly to the families and students affected by school shootings that she commented on. Her remarks failed to prevent the vote to bar her from her committee positions.
Greene’s posts on social media about the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and other school shootings, as well as her endorsement of violence against Democrats, received widespread media attention, and the backlash from Democrats was quick.
Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., the chairman of the House education committee, called on GOP House leaders to reverse course and not place Greene on the committee, a sentiment that was echoed by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. Dozens of organizations, including Sandy Hook Promise, a group that works to protect children from gun violence and was founded by parents whose children died in school shootings at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school, have also taken the same position. Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., channeled the anger many felt towards Greene in a Thursday House floor speech.
“Our teachers and our students are watching,” McGovern said, noting that members of his family are educators. “I can’t imagine how they feel, knowing that someone who says the deadliest high school shooting in our nation’s history was a false flag operation, how they will feel if that person sits behind the dais of the education committee, or behind the dais of any committee.”
It is unusual for one party to openly question or attack decisions by another party in Congress about committee assignments.
But Scott and others said Greene’s support for unfounded conspiracy theories about Parkland, along with her other stated positions, crossed a line.
Greene was one of 11 freshmen GOP lawmakers assigned to the House education panel by Republican leaders last week. Greene likely would not have exercised much influence over legislation considered by the committee; a spokesman for Greene said last week she was focused on issues like school choice and reopening schools. But any time Greene had for questioning witnesses during the committee, for example, could have become a media circus.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., dismissed her appointment to the education committee in comments to CNN by saying it was “not considered a good committee” to be on, but also said he did not think she should serve on any committees.