- The Washington Times
Wednesday, December 8, 2021

The progressive Democrats behind a House resolution Wednesday to censure and strip Colorado Republican Lauren Boebert from her committees say they want to continue to demand such punishments of other lawmakers in the future.

Rep. Ayanna Pressley, Massachusetts Democrat, flanked by fellow members of the group of the ultra-left lawmakers known as “The Squad,” described to reporters the resolution she spearheaded to punish Ms. Boebert over remarks the caucus views as anti-Muslim.

“This sort of toxic behavior has no place in the halls of Congress and it diminishes the honor of the institution that we all serve in. It has no place in our public discourse,” Ms. Pressley said. “It has no place in our society. It has no place in any workplace period.”

Ms. Boebert caused a stir on Thanksgiving when a video clip of her surfaced showing the GOP lawmaker telling supporters at an event about sharing an elevator with Rep. Ilhan Omar, Minnesota Democrat and one of two Muslim women serving in Congress.

Ms. Boebert claimed to the crowd that a nearby police officer seemed upset that Ms. Omar may be dangerous but she jokingly quipped that Ms. Omar “doesn’t have a backpack. We should be fine.”

She also called Ms. Omar a member of the Capitol Hill “Jihad Squad” with other progressive Democratic lawmakers.

Ms. Omar disputed the elevator story as a fabrication and demanded that the House punish Ms. Boebert only weeks after Democrats used their majority to censure and remove Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona from his committees. Mr. Gosar was punished for posting an anime-style video portraying him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in a sword fight.

If Ms. Boebert is censured and loses her committee assignments, she will become the third Republican lawmaker punished in the Democrat-controlled House this year.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Georgia Republican, was the first lawmaker to be stripped of her committee posts by the majority in February over FaceBook posts Democrats considered offensive.

Ms. Pressley, a second-term lawmaker, told reporters she is ready to punish more lawmakers the same way.

“Unfortunately, there’s been the stamina to remain quiet in the face of decades of these sorts of bigotry and racist tropes. So if we’re going to have stamina for hate,” she said. “We sure as hell need to have stamina to denounce those things, which we reject and to affirm those things with which we hold dear.”

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat in her second term and a leader of “The Squad,” agreed.

“This idea of stamina, isn’t that the point of repeatedly harassing and targeting people of color is the idea that we will tire of defending our values. And eventually, we will relent and then allow this violence to occur because it just happens so much?” she asked.

She continued: “When these things sort of happen, the next day, it should be almost as procedural to vote to uphold our value with a cup of coffee, and then we can go on and continue to build back better.” 

She added, “This shouldn’t have to take a whole day, all this energy, all this stuff. We have strict rules. You violate them, the consequence is consistent. It doesn’t have to be that big of a deal, but there does need to be justice.”

House Democratic leadership is still in talks over how and when to punish Ms. Boebert. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, New York Democrat and chair of the House Democratic Caucus, told reporters that Republicans must take responsibility for Ms. Boebert as well.

“We think that it is the House’s collective responsibility to act. Democrats continue to be prepared to do that. It’s unclear what’s happening on the [GOP] side,” he said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, did not indicate if she would support a resolution to censure and strip Ms. Boebert of her committees, but she told reporters Wednesday she would soon announce her decision on how to hold Ms. Boebert accountable.

• Kerry Picket can be reached at kpicket@washingtontimes.com.

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