Democrats know the GOP will retaliate. They wanted to punish Lauren Boebert anyway.

IInevitably, with Republican status in 2021, House Democrats will find themselves in this position again.

For the third time this year, they are weighing whether to hold a Republican lawmaker accountable for her overly offensive statements after GOP leaders refused to do so themselves. that or not.

This time, the Republican in question is Representative Lauren Boebert (R-CO), who has openly making obstinate jokes Congressman Ilhan Omar (D-MN), a Muslim, is a terrorist who will bring a bomb in her backpack to the Capitol.

But this time, Democrats are pondering how to respond when it becomes clear that the same response could serve as action A in the GOP case in retaliation if they take control of the House. in 2023 as scheduled.

Some of the three dozen Democrats openly support censoring Boebert and removing her from committees saying it doesn’t matter.

“Democratic society,” said Representative Mondaire Jones (DN.Y.), “should not allow itself to become paralyzed by fear of the terrible things people will do if they regain power.”

But the dynamics of taking such a step have changed since Democrats took the rare step of redressing Deputies Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Paul Gosar (R-AZ). ) give their own offensive moves. The party voted to remove both men from their committee and censor Gosar.

In response, House Republicans — from the far right to party leader, Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) — have suggested that if they take control of the room in 2023, they’ll switch to just the criticize or punish Democrats who they think crossed the line in the past.

Omar himself has been the target of Republican threats to censor and remove the committee because make statements with anti-sign tones. Deputies Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Eric Swalwell (D-CA) were accused, respectively, of inciting violence at racial justice protests and of having ties to Chinese spies. In Swalwell’s case, Republicans have fled so far with claims that they’ve gotten over the sexual innuendo.

Republicans have also turned to hints of retaliation. During McCarthy’s time eight and a half hour conversation before the Build Back Better vote, he made it clear that there would be consequences for Democrats after Gosar. But if Democrats do indeed punish Boebert, it’s almost certain that payback will come.

Radical Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), who is also a Muslim and is among the GOP’s likely targets of sanctions, is also among members who are not worried about that prospect. I would rather be removed from a committee than remain silent,” she said.

What is clear is that the leaders of the House are not going to act on Boebert on their own.

On Friday, McCarthy again defended Boebert, saying she personally apologized to Omar. (Omar says she didn’t receive a direct apology, and Boebert’s own account that their conversation became difficult when Omar demanded a real apology.)

However, when he hopes to become Speaker of the House in 2023, McCarthy dreads alienating any part of his bad conference many believe that he will not restrain any of his members — no matter the circumstances.

Many Democrats, when questioned, have placed full responsibility on Republicans for dealing with their fringes, and they oppose media coverage that anti-government members This multiple is a Democrat problem, not a McCarthy problem.

But the reality is that Democrats have shown a willingness to hold Republicans accountable. Now, they’re just grappling with how wide that willingness is.

In the Democratic caucus, lawmakers privately are wondering what standard should be by which to consider the nuclear option. They acknowledge the absurdity of the situation — deciding joking about calling a colleague a dangerous terrorist would have the same consequences as posting a video of yourself killing another coworker — but they are still struggling with that.

Representative Lauren Boebert (R-CO) walks past the Senate side of the US Capitol last week.

Drew Angerer / Getty

Many also worry that once they continue down this path, they will formally condemn another Republican provocateur every fortnight, consuming up their precious time. And many, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), have expressed concern about bringing these Republicans to martyrdom.

One Democratic lawmaker, who spoke on condition of anonymity to freely discuss the moves, said their personal standard for criticizing or removing the committee was “promoting political violence,” and did not feel that Boebert’s comments, while despicable, clearly met that standard.

The lawmaker suggested Democrats could use the House’s unwillingness to rein in their most extreme members as part of their broader case to keep the House.

“It needs to become a midterm campaign issue,” they said. “Just point across the aisle and say, ‘Americans, do you feel like this conference is ready to run?'”

Jones, one of them, says Democrats must act quickly to show that they take Boebert’s comments seriously — otherwise, they risk discrediting the public they.

“I don’t see how Democrats can expect to keep a majority in Congress without being seen as working to create a world in which everyone regardless of their religion is live dignified and safe lives.

And while Democrats wonder how a punitive or no-punishment move could impact them in 2022, Republicans are plotting how they will get revenge, if they do. regain power.

However, for now, they don’t reveal many specifics. A leader of the conservatives in the House, Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH), countered when asked which Democrats they might want to target.

“It will be a conference decision,” Jordan told The Daily Beast. “The point is, [Democrats] crossed this bridge and once they’ve crossed it, if it’s good for one team, it’s good for the other team. ”

Other Republicans aren’t ready to go there yet. Representative Peter Meijer (R-MI), who was outraged by the vote to impeach Donald Trump after January 6, said he likely would not support retaliatory censorship or removal measures. quit the committee.

But Meijer won’t judge her GOP colleagues, who will, if given the chance. “Pelosi broke that door and she set a dangerous precedent that I think is undermining the organization,” he said.

Democrats seem to agree that there is a precedent – but they argue that it is a fair bar to maintain standards of politeness among members. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.) told The Daily Beast on Thursday she was “deeply saddened” by Democratic leadership’s delay in calling for action. “This won’t take long,” she said.

“We have to enforce even against these things, because having that consistency is what really draws the line. When we enforce and take these actions for some of these violations, but not others, it’s really encouraging the increasing frequency with which they’re trying to test this boundary,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

“Because they think, you know, if you can get away with it one out of four times, then they roll the dice,” she added.

Gosar shared animated video showing him killing Ocasio-Cortez on November 8 — and was quickly censored and removed from the commissions on November 17. Democrats are clearly slowing the momentum for similar action against Boebert, whose comments have begun to appear widely in a videotapes Posted on November 25th.

The House adjourned on Thursday without a clear Democratic plan for Boebert — and the lawmakers won’t return until Tuesday.

As for the threat of retaliation, Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), the chair of the Progressive caucus of Congress, insisted Republicans would cavalierly vote to censor and remove the committee regardless of what happens now – so Democrats can do as they say.

“They will do it no matter what. They could have done it regardless of what we did. And so that’s who they are today, so I think we have to do what’s right,” she said.

Most Democrats are resigned because it is likely that Boebert will hardly be the last Republican to push the limit of acceptable behavior so far to warrant a response. As they wrap up enacting President Joe Biden’s agenda, some worry that focusing too much on these fringe legislators will distract from their policy victory and waste it. important time.

“The point is, we’re going to have more of this,” said Representative Madeleine Dean (D-PA). “I’ve suggested maybe we can tie three people together, hold three people accountable at the same time, so they don’t use up all of our resources and time.”

“It is stealing things that my voters care about,” Dean continued. “We have to deny their basic behavior, but we have to focus on what we’re doing.”

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