While censorship itself is rare, this is just the latest installment in the clash between House Democrats and Republican leaders over how best to respond to the more extreme members of the GOP — a problem that has cropped up again and again, especially since the attack on the Capitol on January 6
The resolution will censor Gosar and remove him from both the House Oversight and Natural Resources committees. Ocasio-Cortez is also a member of the Oversight Committee.
The Republican leadership of the House has taken no action against Gosar. The Arizona Republican removed the video and released a statement explaining his motivations. but did not apologize, after a call from minority leader Kevin McCarthy.
A spokesman for McCarthy said Tuesday the GOP leader opposes attempts by Democrats to punish Gosar. The Republican leadership of the House recommends a no vote Wednesday afternoon.
Gosar’s posting of the video has further fueled tensions between Democrats and Republicans and exacerbated Democratic fears over rhetoric that fuels more violence across the country. Capitol police say threats against members of Congress have increased this year in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
“It threatens members of Congress, but if we allow him to get away with it, anyone could be threatened,” said Gregory Meeks (DN.Y.) Representative. “It’s also a lightning rod for individuals crazy enough to try and do something — it sends the message that this would be okay.”
Party relations in the House have reached new lows over disputes ranging from masking mandates in the chamber to Republican lawmakers trying to avert the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
While some of those divisions — such as the Mask Mandate — have primarily been used as war targets for the culture to blow up a political base, other conflicts have had more far-reaching and more dangerous consequences. Some hardline Republicans have called on members of their party who voted for the infrastructure package to be punished and removal from their committees.
Since then, some of the 13 House Republicans who voted for the package have received death threats amid opposition from the party’s right-wing.
Wednesday’s vote marks the second time this year that House Democrats have attempted to punish a GOP member of Congress. Earlier this year, the House voted to remove Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) from its committees for her inflammatory rhetoric and conspiracy theories.
Eleven Republicans voted to remove Greene from her committees, but few GOP lawmakers were expected to vote to punish Gosar on Wednesday. Representatives Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) and Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), who have been outspoken in criticizing the more extreme members of their party, have said they will support the censorship of Gosar.
House Democrats have largely dismissed Republican warnings that they could take similar actions against Democratic lawmakers if the GOP wins the majority. Democrats see Gosar as an extreme example.
“If Democrats do something as blatant as Mr Gosar, they should be censored about it,” majority leader Steny Hoyer said in a brief interview. “This is not a partisan issue. This is a matter of security. Not inciting violence and acting in a way that is consistent with what the House may expect. Mr. Gosar didn’t.’
Rejects are a rare and unique action in the House. It was last successfully used against then-Rep. Charlie Rangel (DN.Y.) in 2010 for misusing federal funds, filing inaccurate financial disclosure forms, and failing to pay taxes on a rental property in the Dominican Republic. Only 23 members have ever been censored in the House.
If the disapproval resolution is passed by a simple majority, the penalty generally involves the member standing in the pit of the chamber of the House to receive the reprimand from his colleagues. Republican-led efforts to disapprove of House Democrats for the past two years failed after they failed to garner enough votes in the House.
“Censorship should not be taken lightly. This is a 10 year gap [from] the last time we censored. I don’t like having the responsibility to punish members,” said D-Texas Deputy Sheila Jackson Lee.
“But what struck me was the reckless lack of consideration for what the video comments would do in terms of the safety and security of the President of the United States and a member of Congress,” said Jackson Lee.