Opinion: Marjorie Taylor Greene takes the easy way out

Marjorie Taylor Greene wants to change the rules to force automatic roll call votes on every bill, amendment, or motion on the House floor.

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Marjorie Taylor Greene wants to change the rules to force automatic roll call votes on every bill, amendment, or motion on the House floor.

After being booted off her House committees in early 2021, U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Rome, had extra time on her hands at the U.S. Capitol. So, she spent some of that on the House floor, forcing procedural votes and slowing progress on relatively mundane legislative items.

Greene had the perfect opportunity to assume the high-profile role of GOP floor watchdog, which would give her the chance to tangle daily with Democrats, and maybe trip them up with some parliamentary guerilla tactics.

But it seems that Greene became bored with the idea, and that was demonstrated in a new proposal she issued this week to change the rules of the House.

What Greene wants is a requirement for automatic roll call votes on every bill, amendment, or motion on the House floor.

“It’s time for members of Congress to be on record for every single vote they take,” Greene said. “The people deserve to know where their representative stands!”

Experts on congressional procedure were underwhelmed.

“Interesting choice,” said Josh Huder, a congressional expert at Georgetown University, who said Greene could run into issues with the Constitution.

That’s because in Article I, Section 5, the Constitution specifically says a recorded vote can be ordered ‘at the Desire of one-fifth of those Present.’

“It’s a low bar to clear but it also highlights the overwhelming majority of bills the House passes are bipartisan and non-controversial,” Huder explained.

Making the case for the new rule, Greene darkly hints that all sorts of unknown stuff is being pushed through Congress on voice votes — when what’s really happening is that bipartisan bills are being swiftly approved by lawmakers.

“Voice votes make the chamber function,” said Sarah Binder, a congressional expert at George Washington University.

“In a legislative environment with competing demands on 435 lawmakers’ time, allowing non-controversial measures to be adopted by voice votes makes the world go round,” Binder added.

For example, this week the House approved a resolution — by voice vote — condemning a terrorist attack on a synagogue in Texas earlier this year.

Greene could have stood up on the House floor and asked for a vote.

But she did not.

In sum, Greene doesn’t need to change the rules to force a vote on everything in the House.

The Georgia Republican already has the power to do that.

All she has to do is walk over to the House floor, request a vote, and get enough allies to back her up.

Evidently, Greene has already determined that she has better ways to use her time.

Jamie Dupree has covered national politics and the Congress from Washington, D.C. since the Reagan administration. His column appears weekly in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. For more, check out his Capitol Hill newsletter at http://jamiedupree.substack.com