The Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) exhibits pronounced seasonality, with one of the key unanswered questions being: what controls the maximum in MJO precipitation variance in the Southern Hemisphere during boreal winter? In this study, we examine a set of global climate model simulations in which the eccentricity and precession of the Earth's orbit are altered to change the boreal winter mean state in an attempt to reveal the processes that are responsible for the MJO’s amplitude in the boreal winter. In response to the forced insolation changes, the north-south asymmetry in sea surface temperature is amplified in boreal fall, which intensifies the Hadley circulation in boreal winter. The stronger Hadley circulation yields higher mean precipitation and stronger mean lower-tropospheric westerlies in the southern part of the Indo-Pacific warm pool. The MJO precipitation variability increases significantly where the mean precipitation and lower-tropospheric westerlies strengthen. In the column-integrated moisture budget of the simulated MJO, only surface latent heat flux feedback shows a trend that is consistent with the MJO’s amplitude, suggesting an important role for the surface latent heat flux feedback in the MJO’s amplitude during the boreal winter. An analysis of the moisture-precipitation relationship in the simulations shows that the increase in the mean precipitation lowers the convective moisture adjustment timescale, leading to the increase in precipitation variance. Our results suggest that the mean state precipitation plays a critical role in the maintenance mechanism of the MJO.