House Republican, Democrat say political environment on Capitol Hill is ‘toxic’
A pair of Michigan lawmakers from opposing parties on Sunday described the atmosphere on Capitol Hill in 2021 as “toxic.”
“It’s pretty toxic. There is no question about it,” Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) told host Dana Bash during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“I mean, just before we adjourned probably for the Christmas break, one of our members had their words taken down, usually you just apologize. You just say, ‘You know what, I was wrong.’ And you just sit down and life goes on. And no, he couldn’t speak the rest of the day. I mean, he stood by the words that he had, but you know, you’ve got metal detectors now going on the House floor. We get really nasty threats at home. The tone gets, you know, tougher and tougher. It is a pretty toxic place. I’ve never seen anything like this before.”
Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) joined Upton on CNN and echoed his sentiment.
“I want the American people to think about what’s happening in our country, that this kind of hate, this fear is happening in communities across the country,” Dingell said. “We need to really worry about our democracy and find a way that you can disagree with people and do it in a civil and agreeable way, and it really does have me very worried.”
Upton and Dingell were both asked about the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol as an example of lawmakers coming together to conduct oversight despite a tumultuous political climate and some in the GOP whitewashing the riot by supporters of former President Trump.
“I mean, it was a scary day,” Upton said of Jan. 6. “And that’s why I voted to have an independent commission. We passed it in the House. A good number of Republicans supported it, it didn’t happen in the Senate.”
“I have a lot of friends on the other side and what we need to do is to all of us, get back to just remembering how much we have in common, just respecting each other, treating each other with dignity,” Dingell added. “And I say to everybody, a little act of kindness towards anybody can make the difference in that person’s day, week, or life.”
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