Democrats warn Waters censure move opens floodgates

House Democrats are warning that Republicans are opening a Pandora’s box after forcing a vote on censuring 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.) this week. 

Multiple Democrats have introduced resolutions in recent months to censure or even expel Republicans, primarily over inflammatory rhetoric making false claims about election fraud ahead of the Jan. 6 insurrection. 

After Republicans forced the party-line vote on Waters this week, Rep. Jimmy GomezJimmy GomezThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden address to Congress will dominate busy week Democrats warn Waters censure move opens floodgates HuffPost reporter: DCCC will help Dems fend off progressive challengers to 'keep them happy' MORE (D-Calif.) circulated a letter renewing his effort to expel Rep. Marjorie Taylor GreeneMarjorie Taylor GreeneRep. Marjorie Taylor Greene says she's meeting with Trump 'soon' in Florida QAnon site shutters after reports identifying developer Republicans head to runoff in GA-14 MORE (R-Ga.) from Congress and urging more fellow Democrats to sign onto his resolution.


And moments before this week’s vote, 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 Republicans forcing a roll call on censuring Waters makes it “harder” to justify not taking similar action against Republicans in the future. 

“As my friend the leader knows, we haven’t had all the resolutions that have been introduced on my side of the aisle,” Hoyer said as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyWarren says Republican party 'eating itself and it is discovering that the meal is poisonous' Biden: McCarthy's support of Cheney ouster is 'above my pay grade' On The Money: Inflation jumps at fastest pace since 2008 | Biden 'encouraged' on bipartisan infrastructure deal MORE (R-Calif.) prepared to trigger the vote to censure Waters. 

“This makes it harder, however, not to proceed on numerous resolutions on my side of the aisle,” he added.

The threat underscores how lawmakers have fewer qualms about imposing punishments as severe as censure or expulsion against each other as they continue to harbor fury over the insurrection more than three months ago.

It’s also a reflection of an ever-more-polarized environment where lawmakers are quicker to turn to demanding maximum sanctions when they’re outraged over conduct by members of the opposing party.

Gomez this week pointed to Greene initially planning a caucus with a draft policy platform that called for promoting “Anglo-Saxon political traditions” as yet another justification for the resolution he first introduced last month to expel her from Congress.


“[E]veryone – including House Republican leadership – knew this stunt was nothing more than an effort to promote white supremacy in the United States Congress,” Gomez wrote in a “Dear Colleague” letter.  

“From her open support for political violence against our colleagues to her brazen promotion of anti-Semitism and racism, there is no shortage of reasons as to why Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene is unfit to serve in this legislative body. I hope everyone – both Republicans and Democrats – will join me in this endeavor to ensure our collective safety and preserve our democracy,” Gomez continued.

Gomez’s expulsion resolution already has 72 Democratic co-sponsors. House Democrats — along with 11 Republicans — previously voted in February to strip Greene of her committee assignments over her past endorsements of violence against Democrats and embrace of conspiracy theories like suggesting some mass shootings were staged.

Greene, meanwhile, introduced a resolution to expel Waters that went even further than McCarthy’s measure to censure her. 

McCarthy’s resolution focused only on remarks from Waters last weekend in Minnesota, where the House Financial Services Committee chairwoman and outspoken member of the Congressional Black Caucus said “we’ve got to get more confrontational” about police brutality against African Americans.

Greene’s resolution also cited past remarks from Waters encouraging supporters to harass Trump administration officials out in public over migrant family separations in 2018 and saying a year earlier that she would “go and take Trump out tonight.”

“This is nothing new from Maxine Waters. She has been inciting violence and terrorism for the last 29 years,” Greene said in a statement. But Democrats warn there’s no shortage of past inflammatory rhetoric from Greene and others. 

“Now, because of who I am, the right wing and members of Congress who subscribe to the views of groups like QAnon, the Oath Keepers, the Proud Boys and the KKK have targeted me. Those very people have done so to divert attention from the fact that they aided and abetted a violent, domestic terrorist insurrection led by Donald Trump,” Waters wrote in a Los Angeles Times op-ed.

In large part because of the Jan. 6 mob attack on the Capitol, lawmakers have been introducing censure resolutions at a faster pace than in the last Congress. And while two expulsion measures have already been introduced four months into this year, only one such resolution was introduced in the last session. 

That lone expulsion resolution came from then-Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-La.) against Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: Inflation jumps at fastest pace since 2008 | Biden 'encouraged' on bipartisan infrastructure deal Overnight Health Care: CDC approves Pfizer vaccine for adolescents aged 12-15 | House moderates signal concerns with Pelosi drug pricing bill | Panel blasts COVID-19 response Biden 'encouraged' by meeting with congressional leaders on infrastructure MORE (D-Calif.) over former President TrumpDonald TrumpWarren says Republican party 'eating itself and it is discovering that the meal is poisonous' More than 75 Asian, LGBTQ groups oppose anti-Asian crime bill McConnell says he's 'great admirer' of Liz Cheney but mum on her removal MORE’s impeachment during his unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign. Censure resolutions were filed against four lawmakers in the last session: 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), as well as Pelosi, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffDNC plans to project image calling GOP 'party of Trump' on his DC hotel after Cheney vote Democrats fundraise off of vote to remove Cheney from GOP leadership Free Speech Inc.: The Democratic Party finds a new but shaky faith in corporate free speech MORE (D-Calif.) and Rep. Bill PascrellWilliam (Bill) James PascrellUS files first trade complaint against Mexico over tampered union vote at GM plant Senate Democrats offer bill to scrap tax break for investment managers America's Jewish communities are under attack — Here are 3 things Congress can do MORE (D-N.J.).

Back in January, Democrats introduced separate resolutions to censure Reps. Louie GohmertLouis (Louie) Buller GohmertPence to give keynote address at National Conservative Student Conference Gaetz, House Republicans introduce bill to defund Postal Service covert operations program 136 Republicans get Fs in accountability rankings from anti-Trump GOP group MORE (R-Texas) and Mo BrooksMorris (Mo) Jackson BrooksRepublicans embrace Trump in effort to reclaim Senate Democrats warn Waters censure move opens floodgates Conservative House members call on Senate to oppose ATF nominee MORE (R-Ala.) for making false claims that the election had been stolen from Trump. Greene’s fellow Georgian, Democratic Rep. Nikema Williams, also introduced a resolution to censure her. 

Brooks had spoken at a rally outside the White House on Jan. 6 and said “today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass.”


The resolution from Democratic Reps. Tom MalinowskiThomas (Tom) MalinowskiWashington's split with Turkey widens — but it is up to Turkey to heal the rift Democrats warn Waters censure move opens floodgates Overnight Defense: Top Pentagon nominee advances after Harris casts tie-breaker | Air Force general charged with sexual assault first to face court-martial | House passes bill to limit Saudi arms sales MORE (N.J.) and Debbie Wasserman SchultzDeborah (Debbie) Wasserman SchultzDemocrats fume over silence from DeSantis on Florida election Democrats warn Waters censure move opens floodgates Lawmakers react to guilty verdict in Chauvin murder trial: 'Our work is far from done' MORE (Fla.) states that Brooks “encouraged and fueled the mob, brought shame on the House of Representatives, jeopardizing its reputation and institutional integrity, as well as the safety of its members and staff.”

Despite the flurry of lawmakers introducing measures to formally sanction each other, it remains extraordinarily rare for the House to actually take such a drastic step. Only 23 lawmakers have been censured in the House’s history, while only five have been expelled. 

Even so, the lingering anger over Republicans challenging the election results remains fresh in Democrats’ minds. 

“I think all of us on our side of the aisle are very concerned about the aid and comfort that the rhetoric of some and the actions of some gave to those who committed criminal insurrection against the United States of America and against our democracy on January 6,” Hoyer said.

“So we’re still very concerned about that, and action is still possible on that.”