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House rejects GOP resolution to censure Waters

The House on Tuesday rejected a Republican resolution to censure Rep. Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersJuan Williams: Tim Scott should become a Democrat The Hill's Morning Report - Biden address to Congress will dominate busy week Maxine Waters: Judge in Chauvin trial who criticized her was 'angry' MORE (D-Calif.) for saying that “we’ve got to get more confrontational” about police brutality against African Americans.

Lawmakers voted along party lines 216-210, with no defections on either side, to table the resolution from Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyTrump signals he's ready to get back in the game Manchin, Murkowski call for bipartisan Voting Rights Act reauthorization 8 in 10 Republicans who've heard of Cheney's removal agree with it: poll MORE (R-Calif.) that would have issued the chamber’s harshest disapproval short of expulsion.

Republicans argued that Waters incited violence with her remarks at a protest over the weekend in Minneapolis, where tensions are spiking over the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer who’s charged with the murder of George Floyd, and the recent police killing of Daunte Wright.

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The resolution’s text cites comments on Monday from the judge in the Chauvin trial, who criticized the remarks from Waters and warned they could give the defense “something on appeal that may result in this whole trial being overturned.”

Democrats cast Republicans’ outrage over Waters as hypocritical given how many of them defended former President TrumpDonald TrumpGOP-led Maricopa County board decries election recount a 'sham' Analysis: Arpaio immigration patrol lawsuit to cost Arizona county at least 2 million Conservatives launch 'anti-cancel culture' advocacy organization MORE, Rep. Marjorie Taylor GreeneMarjorie Taylor GreeneThe Memo: What now for anti-Trump Republicans? Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene says she's meeting with Trump 'soon' in Florida QAnon site shutters after reports identifying developer MORE (R-Ga.) and other GOP lawmakers accused of inciting violence ahead of the Jan. 6 insurrection or of other misconduct.

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesJeffries endorses Wiley in New York mayor's race Pelosi: Greene's 'verbal assault' of Ocasio-Cortez could be a matter for Ethics Committee Top Democrat: 'House Republicans have definitively become a full-blown cult' MORE (N.Y.) cited the examples of Reps. Lauren BoebertLauren BoebertMaher on Biden's trillion plans: 'Thank God we got Mexico to pay for that wall' Democrats accuse GOP of new lows in culture wars Boebert takes out space blanket during Biden speech to draw attention to border surge MORE (Colo.), Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzTroubles grow for Gaetz as former associate flips Gaetz associate pleads guilty Gaetz compares allegations against him to earmarks: 'Everybody knows that that's the corruption' MORE (Fla.) and Greene and described each as a “mess.”

“Clean up your mess, Kevin. Sit this one out. You’ve got no credibility here,” Jeffries said.

House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseFBI reclassifies 2017 baseball field shooting as domestic terror McCarthy dings Biden after meeting: Doesn't have 'energy of Donald Trump' The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - What the CDC's updated mask guidance means MORE (R-La.) dodged a question at a press conference earlier Tuesday about why Republicans believed Waters deserved censure but not Rep. Mo BrooksMorris (Mo) Jackson BrooksDemocrat moves to censure three Republicans for downplaying Jan. 6 Republicans embrace Trump in effort to reclaim Senate Democrats warn Waters censure move opens floodgates MORE (R-Ala.), who said at a rally outside the White House on Jan. 6 that “today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass.”

“Well, first of all, I've been very clear in speaking out against any kind of political rhetoric that incites violence,” Scalise said before pivoting back to Waters.

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“Right now, I haven't heard any Democrats speaking out against what Maxine has said. And it’s time for Democrats to speak out when they see it on both sides. They only want to speak out on one side of the aisle, not on both. And that hypocrisy, I think, is starting to shine through.”

House Democratic leaders all rallied behind Waters, but their margin for defeating McCarthy’s resolution was extraordinarily tight. They can currently afford only two defections and still prevail on any vote in the face of unified GOP opposition.

Many centrist Democrats in swing districts are sensitive to any incendiary remarks about police after blaming progressive activists’ calls for “defunding the police” for their electoral losses last November.

Republicans have seized on censuring Waters days after outcry over initial plans by Greene and Rep. Paul GosarPaul Anthony GosarJuan Williams: The GOP's losing bet on Trump Romney: Capitol riot was 'an insurrection against the Constitution' Democrat moves to censure three Republicans for downplaying Jan. 6 MORE (R-Ariz.) to launch a caucus with a draft policy platform that called for promoting “Anglo-Saxon political traditions” and infrastructure that reflects “European architecture.”

McCarthy and other top House Republicans quickly distanced themselves from the proposed caucus that threatened to subject the party to an internal debate over white supremacy. But in the last few days, Republicans have united around sanctioning Waters.

Waters said on Saturday while attending an anti-police brutality protest in Minnesota that “we’ve got to get justice in this country, and we cannot allow these killings to continue."

“We’ve got to stay on the street, and we've got to get more active. We’ve got to get more confrontational. We’ve got to make sure that they know that we mean business,” Waters told reporters.

Waters maintained in an interview with The Grio on Monday that she wasn’t encouraging violence.

“I talk about confronting the justice system, confronting the policing that’s going on, I’m talking about speaking up. I’m talking about legislation. I’m talking about elected officials doing what needs to be done to control their budgets and to pass legislation,” Waters said.

It’s not the first time that Waters, the outspoken House Financial Services Committee chairwoman and senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus, has drawn ire from Republicans.

Waters encouraged supporters in 2018 to harass Trump administration officials in public over the separation of migrant families, saying that “if you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them. And you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.”

And in 2017, Waters told a crowd that she would “go and take out Trump tonight.”

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It’s rare for the House to take punitive action against one of its members.

House Democrats — and 11 Republicans — voted in February to remove Greene from serving on any committees due to her apparent endorsements of violence against prominent Democrats and past embrace of conspiracy theories.

Greene previously “liked” a Facebook comment in January 2019 that said “a bullet to the head would be quicker” to remove Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSenators shed masks after CDC lifts mandate House extends proxy voting to July On The Money: IRS to start monthly payments of child tax credit July 15 | One-fourth of Americans took financial hits in 2020: Fed MORE (D-Calif.). And last September, Greene posted a photo of herself on Facebook holding a gun alongside images of progressive Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezMarjorie Taylor Greene may be 'dangerous,' but she's not the first Sunrise Movement endorses Nina Turner in special election for Ohio House seat Islamic Jihad commander killed in airstrike, Israel says MORE (D-N.Y.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarOvernight Defense: Administration approves 5M arms sale to Israel | Biden backs ceasefire in call with Netanyahu | Military sexual assault reform push reaches turning point Omar: 'Appalling' for US to move forward with arms sale to Israel Biden approves 5M weapons sale to Israel MORE (D-Minn.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibSunrise Movement endorses Nina Turner in special election for Ohio House seat White House: Journalists' safety is 'paramount' after Gaza building bombed Deleted video shows Greene taunting Ocasio-Cortez's office in 2019 MORE (D-Mich.) with the caption “Squad’s Worst Nightmare.”

In 2019, House GOP leaders stripped then-Rep. Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingDemocrats warn Waters censure move opens floodgates House rejects GOP resolution to censure Waters Rep. Gosar denounces 'white racism' after controversial appearance MORE (R-Iowa) of his committee assignments for questioning why the terms "white supremacy" and "white nationalism" were considered offensive, following years of other comments considered racist.

The House adopted a bipartisan resolution days later to formally condemn white supremacy and white nationalism, although the measure didn’t directly rebuke King.

Later in 2019, Omar made remarks widely panned as anti-Semitic for suggesting that the pro-Israel lobby “says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country.” The House subsequently passed a resolution broadly condemning anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and other forms of bigotry, although it didn’t directly name Omar amid Democratic divisions over how far to sanction her.

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Only 23 House members have been censured in the chamber’s history, most recently in 2010 when former Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) was censured over a string of ethics violations related to misusing congressional resources and failing to pay taxes on a vacation home.

House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerWhat's a party caucus chair worth? House fails to pass drug bill amid Jan. 6 tensions Cheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP MORE (D-Md.) warned that Democrats could take up censure resolutions that have been introduced by Democrats to sanction Republicans over their inflammatory rhetoric ahead of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, including Brooks and Rep. Louie GohmertLouis (Louie) Buller GohmertDemocrat moves to censure three Republicans for downplaying Jan. 6 Gohmert says Jan. 6 mob attack on Capitol not an 'armed insurrection' Pence to give keynote address at National Conservative Student Conference MORE (R-Texas). More than 70 Democrats have also backed a resolution to expel Greene from Congress altogether.

"As my friend the leader knows, we haven't had all the resolutions that have been introduced on my side of the aisle. This makes it harder, however, not to proceed on numerous resolutions on my side of the aisle," Hoyer said.