Democratic caucus chairs, progressives call for Boebert to be stripped of committee assignments

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Posted at 5:30 PM, Dec 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-03 02:34:39-05

DENVER – Five Democratic caucus chairs and several dozen Democratic House lawmakers – though none from Colorado – called Thursday for Rep. Lauren Boebert to be stripped of her committee assignments because of what they call “anti-Muslim bigotry” directed at Rep. Ilhan Omar.

“There must be consequences for vicious workplace harassment and abuse that creates an environment so unsafe for colleagues and staff that it invites death threats against them. There must be consequences for elected representatives who traffic in anti-Muslim and racist tropes that make all Muslims across the country less safe,” said the caucus chairs in a statement.

The statement was issued by Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Congressional Black Caucus Chair Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio), Congressional Asian Pacific American Chair Judy Chu (D-Calif.), Equality Caucus Chair David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and Hispanic Caucus Chair Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.)

The group said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has continued to refuse to address hatred from some of his Republican caucus members, including Boebert and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.

“He is unwilling or unable to control his own members from inciting violence against other Members of Congress or encouraging bigotry and hatred,” the caucus leaders said in the statement. “If he cannot lead his own caucus, he certainly will never be able to lead the House of Representatives.”

Additionally, three-dozen progressive House Democrats issued a statement that also calls for Boebert to be stripped of her committee assignments, which could be done by her party’s steering committee or through a full House vote. Greene was stripped of her committee assignments back in February over past comments, and Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., was censured after tweeting a video that depicted him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.

Boebert sits on the Committee on Natural Resources, the Subcommittee on Indigenous Peoples of the United States, the Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife, and the Committee on the Budget.

“Our response to behavior that creates a dangerous work environment and furthers a climate of toxicity and intolerance cannot be silence,” the House progressives said in a statement. “Congress cannot forgo accountability when a Member engages in hate speech that dehumanizes not only a colleague, but an entire people.”

Boebert’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday. The Washington Post first reported news of the statements from Democrats Thursday.

The continued pressure from Democrats for Boebert, R-CO03, to be punished comes after video surfaced last week of her speaking at an event in her district in which she made comments hinting that Omar, D-Minn., was a terrorist and said Omar was part of “the jihad squad.”

On Monday, Omar hung up on Boebert in a phone call in which Boebert was supposed to apologize for her story, which Omar says was fabricated, after Boebert doubled down on her rhetoric and said Omar should apologize to the American people.

CNN reported this week another instance in which Boebert made disparaging comments about Omar and Muslims.

None of Colorado’s four Democratic members of the House signed on to Thursday’s statements, but all in statements this week condemned Boebert’s remarks and McCarthy’s lack of action.

“Congresswoman Boebert’s behavior is unbecoming of the office and deeply offensive to Coloradans, who understand that the diversity of communities across our state is our greatest strength,” said Rep. Jason Crow, D-CO06. “…The silence from our colleagues across the aisle is deafening. Bigotry should never be a normalized part of our political discourse.”

Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-CO07, called Boebert’s comments “extremely inappropriate and hurtful.”

“I continue to call on the House Republican caucus to take action when their members express hateful and disturbing rhetoric or sentiments. Anything of the sort should not be tolerated,” he said.

A spokesperson for Rep. Joe Neguse, D-CO02, said Democrats would be meeting this week to talk about a way to hold Boebert accountable.

“Rep. Boebert’s comments were offensive and reprehensible, and Leader McCarthy’s refusal to condemn such inflammatory rhetoric from members of his caucus and take appropriate action is a failure of leadership,” Neguse said in a statement.

And Rep. Diana DeGette, D-CO01, said Boebert was “spiraling out of control” with her latest comments.

“There is no place for such bigotry in our public discourse,” she said. “Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy needs to take action immediately. His failure to do so only emboldens other to follow her lead, and the American people deserve so much better than that.”

Colorado’s Republican members of the House did not respond to requests for comment this week about Boebert’s latest controversy.

Omar on Tuesday played a recording of a death threat she received on her voicemail after Boebert’s latest comment and reiterated that McCarthy need to do more to quell “anti-Muslim hatred” within their caucus. But McCarthy has so far been mum on the matter.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said on MSNBC Thursday that Democratic leadership had been talking about what the appropriate actions were to be taken as the House worked to pass a measure to continue funding the government.