Nov 7, 2023 - Politics & Policy

GOP faces internal opposition on new push to censure Rashida Tlaib

Rep. Rashida Tlaib. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

A new push to censure Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) over her statements on Israel still faces opposition from some House Republicans.

Why it matters: Lawmakers in both parties are frustrated at continued efforts to censure members for what are essentially controversial remarks.

  • Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) tried to censure Tlaib last week, but her measure failed after 23 Republicans voted against it.
  • Some cited her use of the word "insurrection" to refer to a Capitol Hill protest Tlaib spoke at that called for a ceasefire in Gaza, both others said their concerns center around punishing free speech.

The latest: The House is set to vote Tuesday afternoon on a more restrained measure from Rep. Rich McCormick (R-Ga.), who voted against Greene's resolution last week.

  • Later Tuesday night, members are slated to vote on another resolution from Greene that swaps out "insurrection" for "illegal occupation" in referring to the protest.

What they're saying: Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) said he will vote against both measures due to free speech concerns, quipping: "I'm going to censure the next person who introduces a censure."

  • "We're already seeing this unravel," Rep. John Duarte (R-Calif.) told Axios, pointing to Rep. Sara Jacobs' (D-Calif.) push to censure Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.) for comments suggesting Palestinian civilians should be treated as combatants. "This isn't what we need to be wasting our time on," he added.
  • Duarte noted that while some Republicans' primary concern with Greene's resolution was the "insurrection" language, a "good number of us ... cited specifically the freedom of speech conflict."
  • Those include Reps. Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.), Tim Walberg (R-Mich.), Glenn Grothman (R-Wisc.) and Harriet Hageman (R-Wyo.).
  • Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) told CNN: "We should stop this nonsense, we should stop censuring. People are going to have differences of opinion, sometimes they're going to miss the facts. So be it."

Yes, but: Some Republicans who voted against Greene's resolution appear open to voting at least for McCormick's.

  • "I think his [resolution] has removed that ['insurrection' language]," Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Ind.) said of McCormick's measure. "I think that one is fine."
  • Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.), who voted against Greene's measure, also plans to vote for McCormick's, a source familiar with his plans told Axios.

The other side: Democratic leadership is trying to maintain the united front their caucus put up against Greene's measure.

  • House Minority Whip Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) is whipping against both resolutions, according to an email to Democratic offices obtained by Axios.
  • Some staunchly pro-Israel Democrats appear to be leaning against censure, with Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) saying: "We have to allow people to have a debate here."
  • Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-Fla.), another pro-Israel lawmaker, said on CNN: "If a censure comes on her misinformation on the hospital bombing … and on 'from the river to the sea,' I would support that censure."
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