Nov 8, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: GOP proposal to expel Palestinians faces Dem backlash

Rep. Ryan Zinke. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images.

A moderate, pro-Israel Jewish Democrat is preparing a measure to condemn Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) for introducing legislation to expel Palestinians from the U.S.

Why it matters: The bill generated significant controversy after it was introduced last week, with Congress' three Muslim members condemning it as "fascism and pure bigotry."

What we're hearing: Rep. Greg Landsman (D-Ohio) told Axios he is drafting a measure condemning Zinke's bill, comparing it to the anti-Israel rhetoric from Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) that prompted the House to censure her on Tuesday.

  • "There is some rhetoric that is just dangerous and will lead to violence. Whether it's a Republican saying it or a Democrat saying it, you have to push back," Landsman said. "It's going to get more people hurt."
  • Landsman was one of 22 Democrats who voted with Republicans to censure Tlaib.
  • Landsman said he will circulate the resolution to both lawmakers parties in hopes of getting bipartisan support: "I believe the vast majority of Republicans and Democrats would support that."

Details: Zinke's bill would require the Department of Homeland Security to implement a pause on issuing visas and granting refugee status or asylum to anyone carrying a Palestinian Authority passport.

  • It would also revoke visas, refugee status and asylum granted to Palestinians after September of this year.
  • It was introduced with 10 Republican co-sponsors including right-wing Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.).

The other side: "I would find it hard to condemn the lack of screening or vetting from Hamas central," said Zinke, a former Trump administration Interior secretary, referring to the Palestinian territories. "I wish him good luck."

  • "When it comes to Hamas, it's a terrorist organization, and those who abed and support a terrorist organization are ... in fact, terrorists," Zinke said.

Reality check: Unlike resolutions to expel or censure members of Congress, the resolution would not be "privileged" and therefore Landsman would not be able to force a floor vote on it.

  • He framed it as a challenge to Republicans to hold their own accountable: "I believe that condemning Zinke and this effort to remove Palestinians from the United States would be overwhelmingly supported."
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