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Republicans seek to delay effort to censure Schiff after Cummings' death

Republicans are seeking to put off for a few days their effort to censure House Intelligence Committee Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffBiden holds off punishing Saudi crown prince, despite US intel Overnight Defense: Biden sends message with Syria airstrike | US intel points to Saudi crown prince in Khashoggi killing | Pentagon launches civilian-led sexual assault commission Democrats demand Saudi accountability over Khashoggi killing MORE (D-Calif.) following the death of longtime Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsHouse Democrats reintroduce bill to reduce lobbyist influence Trump voters and progressives have a lot in common — and Biden can unite them We must act on lowering cost of prescription drugs MORE (D-Md.), the head of the powerful House Oversight and Reform Committee.

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), the chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus who is leading the censure effort against Schiff, had introduced a measure Wednesday that would allow the minority party to force a vote and bring the resolution to the floor by Thursday.

But Biggs wrote to Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiMcCarthy: 'I would bet my house' GOP takes back lower chamber in 2022 After vote against coronavirus relief package, Golden calls for more bipartisanship in Congress Democrats don't trust GOP on 1/6 commission: 'These people are dangerous' MORE (D-Calif.) on Thursday to request that the vote on his privileged resolution instead be taken up on Monday, out of respect for their late colleague and those close to him.

Cummings died Thursday at the age of 68.

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“I am deeply saddened at the passing of our colleague, Chairman Elijah Cummings. He was a fierce advocate for what he believed in. I express condolences to his family and colleagues,” Biggs wrote. 

“Out of respect to him and his family, I instructed my staff to work with your staff, and the staff of the Minority Leader. I do not wish to intrude on the grief felt by his colleagues today by proceeding with a floor vote of my motion to censure Adam Schiff,” he added. 

Biggs requested that Pelosi guarantee a floor vote before the end of Monday’s 6:30 p.m. vote series, when he would be required to reintroduce the measure.

The House conservative leader also criticized Democrats for continuing with a planned hearing Thursday as part of their impeachment probe into President TrumpDonald TrumpNoem touts South Dakota coronavirus response, knocks lockdowns in CPAC speech On The Trail: Cuomo and Newsom — a story of two embattled governors McCarthy: 'I would bet my house' GOP takes back lower chamber in 2022 MORE.

Biggs called it "questionable" that the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees would continue with a joint hearing behind closed doors.

"It seems grossly inconsistent to minimize floor activity today and tomorrow, and to delay a vote on my resolution while all committees proceed as if nothing happened,” Biggs wrote.

“It is unseemly that Chairman Cummings' own committee is proceeding on the day of his passing while H.Res. 630 is not going to receive a floor vote," he added, referring to his bill.

Biggs went on to blast Schiff for opting not to postpone Thursday's hearing, arguing lawmakers should have been provided time to grieve.

Schiff, Pelosi and other Democratic leaders issued statements and tweets earlier in the day Thursday remembering Cummings, who became a key player in the House impeachment investigation and battled the Trump administration on various issues.

“I am prepared, and frankly, sanguine with the agreement to hold the vote on H.Res. 630 Monday evening,” Biggs wrote Thursday.

“Nevertheless, it is terribly disrespectful that Chairman Schiff could not find a warm spot in his heart to delay his rush to impeach the President for even a single day so that we might all reflect on Chairman Cummings, his life, and things that are bigger than any of us," he wrote.

Biggs's resolution aiming to censure Schiff faces an uphill battle in the Democratic-controlled House, though it has garnered more than 140 GOP co-sponsors, including the support of Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyMcCarthy: 'I would bet my house' GOP takes back lower chamber in 2022 Democrats don't trust GOP on 1/6 commission: 'These people are dangerous' Sunday shows preview: 2024 hopefuls gather at CPAC; House passes coronavirus relief; vaccine effort continues MORE (R-Calif.), Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseMerrick Garland is right to prioritize domestic terrorism, but he'll need a bigger boat Why Congress must invoke the 14th Amendment now The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - Ahead: One-shot vax, easing restrictions, fiscal help MORE (R-La.) and GOP Conference Chairwoman Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyMcCarthy: 'I would bet my house' GOP takes back lower chamber in 2022 The Memo: CPAC fires starting gun on 2024 Trump Jr.: There are 'plenty' of GOP incumbents who should be challenged MORE (R-Wyo.).

The measure is aimed at formally condemning Schiff for using "parody" when recounting details of Trump's call with the leader of Ukraine and for the chairman's remarks stating the committee did not have any prior contact with an intelligence community whistleblower prior to the submission of their complaint that sparked the impeachment inquiry, a comment that Schiff later walked back.

Schiff has defended his exaggerated recounting of Trump’s conversation with the president of Ukraine, arguing his comments during his opening statement at a televised hearing last month were made partially in jest.