Nov 30, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Top House Democrats weigh action against GOP Rep. Boebert

Rep. Lauren Boebert attends a House Natural Resources Committee meeting in June.
Rep. Lauren Boebert. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on Tuesday said House leadership is considering whether to take action against Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) for her "harmful and dangerous" comments implying Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) is a terrorist threat.

Why it matters: House Democrats have increasingly taken it upon themselves to dole out discipline to GOP members for inflammatory rhetoric this year, which Republicans warn will fundamentally alter how Congress conducts its internal affairs.

  • The House voted in February to strip Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) of her committee assignments over a slew of offensive comments. That resolution was supported by all Democrats and 11 Republicans.
  • Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) was censured and booted from committees earlier this month after tweeting an anime video depicting violence against President Biden and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), with only two Republicans joining Democrats on that vote.

What they’re saying: “We’re considering what action ought to be taken,” Hoyer told reporters during a call on Tuesday when asked whether similar action is on the table for Boebert, though he said there had not been “significant discussion” about it over the weekend.

  • Hoyer called Boebert’s comments — in which she claims she confronted Omar at the Capitol and suggested the Minnesota representative could be a suicide bomber — “harmful and dangerous.” Omar says the exchange never happened.
  • Hoyer said that the remarks by Boebert, who often refers to Omar and other progressives as the “Jihad Squad,” are “particularly concerning” because they are part of a pattern and suggested they could “inflame the passions” of violent actors.
  • Hoyer also said the onus of punishing Boebert should ideally lay with Republican leaders, who have thus far declined to take action against any members for inflammatory comments this year.

The backdrop: Omar and Boebert had a phone call on Monday that devolved into the two demanding public apologies from one another until Omar eventually hung up, according to accounts from both lawmakers.

  • Hoyer said that call was not sanctioned by Democratic leadership, but that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had earlier proposed such a call on the premise that Boebert wanted to apologize.
  • “I [called McCarthy back and said], ‘I don’t think that would be a productive conversation,’” Hoyer told reporters on Tuesday. “As I expected, that conversation did not go well.”
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