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On Friday, Hayes spoke with parents who had lost their children that day in December. “They couldn’t even find the words to articulate it. It just felt like a complete betrayal,” Hayes told me. What the parents are upset about—what Hayes is upset about—is House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s decision to assign Greene to the House Education and Labor Committee. The parents, Hayes said, do not have any confidence “in us as a legislative body to protect other people’s children.”
Hayes has been leading a push by Democrats to kick Greene off the education committee as well as the budget committee (the other assignment McCarthy gave her). The effort picked up momentum after news reports drew attention to social-media posts that Greene had made before she was elected. In addition to spreading conspiracy theories about Newtown, Greene had berated a Parkland shooting survivor, tacitly supported executing prominent Democrats, and advanced the lie that a Jewish cabal had started the 2018 California wildfires with a space laser.
Late last week, Hayes circulated a letter, which was sent to top House Republicans, demanding that Greene not be seated on either committee. “Representative Greene, who has shown such a heinous and wanton disregard for school safety, student trauma, and ultimately, the truth, has proven that she cannot be expected to engage in good faith discussions of policy,” Hayes wrote. On Monday, following days of inaction from Republicans, she and two other Democrats introduced a resolution to strip Greene of the assignments. The House Rules Committee will meet today to take up the resolution. Greene’s office did not respond to a request for comment on whether she will testify, but if a majority of the committee votes in favor of the resolution, it will go to the full House, where it is expected to pass as early as this week.
The Democrats’ threat is both real—a majority of Democrats support the resolution—and a form of pressure on McCarthy to rescind the assignments. He has done so once before: In 2019 he stripped Representative Steve King of his committee assignments after King’s remarks in support of white supremacy became a liability for the party. So far, McCarthy has shied away from explicitly condemning Greene—even though his counterpart on the Senate, Mitch McConnell, recently blasted the freshman lawmaker without naming her. When asked about Greene’s social-media posts, a McCarthy spokesperson told me, “These comments are deeply disturbing, and Leader McCarthy plans to have a conversation with the congresswoman about them.”
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“I’m going to need more than a conversation,” Hayes told me. “For him to just say he’s going to have a conversation to try to sweep it under the rug is a complete abdication of their responsibility.”