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Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Cori Bush (far right) walk through the Capitol last month. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

House progressives are seeking concrete punishment for Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) as retribution for her incendiary remarks against one of their own, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).

Why it matters: House Democratic leaders continue to consider their options amid the latest ugly incident in their chamber. Republicans are already threatening retaliation after Democrats stripped Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) of her committee assignments and censured Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.).

  • "She needs to be removed from her committees, absolutely," Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) said of Boebert on Wednesday.
  • Boebert, walking past Bush on the Capitol steps as she spoke to Axios, shot her a glance but remained silent. Her office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
  • Bush expressed hope "there are enough of us, or we can mobilize enough of us, to help leadership to see why this is a must." She said House leaders should act immediately, rather than "waiting to see what the Republicans will do."

What they're saying: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), a fellow member of The Squad with Omar, told Axios there are a "number of options before us," including censure and stripping committee assignments.

  • “I do believe we need to take an action," Ocasio-Cortez said.
  • Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) has also called for Democrats to strip Boebert's committee assignments.
  • “Republicans should do that, but if Republicans don’t, yes, I think the majority should act," he said.
  • Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told Axios that stripping Boebert's committee assignments should be a "bipartisan thing," but added, "If it’s not going to be, then we might have to be the ones to do it.”

But, but, but: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a warning to Democrats in a closed-door caucus meeting Wednesday morning.

She said continuing to punish right-wingers for their incendiary rhetoric could end up backfiring.

  • "This is hard because these people are doing it for the publicity," Pelosi said, according to a source in the room.
  • "There's a judgment that has to be made about how we contribute to their fundraising and their publicity on how obnoxious and disgusting they can be," Pelosi added.
  • But Pelosi also said Boebert's rhetoric is "dangerous," and that the majority "cannot allow [Republicans] to endanger members of Congress, especially because of her faith.”

Between the lines: Omar sent shockwaves through the Capitol on Tuesday by playing a threatening, slur-filled voicemail she received from an unnamed caller, which she said was a result of Boebert's relentless anti-Muslim attacks.

  • Boebert is one of several right-wing members — including Greene — who refer to Omar and her progressive colleagues as the "Jihad Squad."
  • Boebert triggered sharp criticism this week for recounting a story in which she suggested Omar is a terror threat. She later apologized "to anyone in the Muslim community I offended."
  • Omar has said the encounter Boebert described never occurred.

Go deeper

House Democrats to combine 2 key bills in push for voting rights

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during a December news conference in Washington, D.C. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Democrats the House Rules Committee was meeting Wednesday night to combine key provisions of two voting bills and pass the rule before sending it to the Senate for a vote.

Why it matters: Pelosi's announcement in a letter to Democrats comes a day after President Biden called for a change to the Senate's filibuster rules in an effort to pass voting rights legislation.

Updated Jan 13, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Kevin McCarthy declines interview with Jan. 6 select committee

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Wednesday he will not participate with the Jan. 6 select committee's request to interview him about his communications with former President Trump.

Driving the news: McCarthy, the highest-ranking elected official the panel has asked for information, said that he had nothing to add and criticized the panel's "abuse of power."

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Winter view from Charlotte as winter storm Izzy creates dangerous conditions in Charlotte, N.C. on Jan. 16. Photo: Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A major winter storm was lashing much of the East Coast on Sunday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The big picture: Heavy snow and ice accumulations are "likely to produce hazardous travel," downed trees and more power outages from the Mid-South to the Northeast, per the National Weather Service. Some parts of the U.S. can expect to see up to a foot of snow through Monday.