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House to vote on censure of Gosar after he posted edited anime video of him killing Ocasio-Cortez

The House plans to vote Wednesday on a resolution that would both censure Republican Congressman Paul Gosar and remove him from his committee assignments. 

Gosar last week posted on Twitter an edited anime video that depicted him attacking President Biden and apparently killing Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. He later deleted the tweet and issued a statement saying he doesn't condone violence.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday that the disciplinary plan was necessary because Gosar made threats about harming a member of Congress.

 "That is in itself not only an endangerment of that member of congress but an insult to the House of Representatives," Pelosi said.

Virus Outbreak Republicans
Representative Paul Gosar, a dentist, waits to join House Minority Whip Steve Scalise and members of the GOP Doctors Caucus, for a news conference about the Delta variant of COVID-19 and the origin of the virus, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, July 22, 2021. J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Gosar serves on the House Oversight and Reform Committee with Ocasio-Cortez. The resolution would remove him from that committee and the House Committee on Natural Resources. Congressional committees are where the language of bills are hashed out — and they can give lawmakers the power to shape laws and influence policy. 

Ocasio-Cortez said on Tuesday that Gosar would be expelled from Congress "in a perfect world," but that she supports censuring him and removing him from the Oversight and Reform Committee. She also questioned the sincerity of Gosar's statement on the video, which claimed the video is merely "a symbolic cartoon" that "depicts the symbolic nature of a battle between lawful and unlawful policies and in no way intended to be a targeted attack" against her and Mr. Biden.  

"If he was telling the truth, he would have apologized by now. It's been well over a week," Ocasio-Cortez said. "He not only has not made any sort of contact or outreach—neither he nor Republican Leader [Kevin] McCarthy—but he has also doubled down."

A group of House Democrats led by Congresswoman Jackie Speier introduced a resolution last week to censure Gosar. So far, most Republican members have been silent on the measure against Gosar. But at least two, Representatives Liz Cheney and Congressman Adam Kinzinger, have signaled that they would support the measure against Gosar.

If Gosar is censured, he will have to stand in the well of the House chamber while the speaker reads the resolution and issues a verbal rebuke.

In February, 11 Republicans joined Democrats on a vote that stripped Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene of her committee assignments for making extremist and racist comments before being elected. At the time, McCarthy warned that Democrats were opening the door to Republicans taking away Democrats' committee assignments when the majorities are flipped.

At a Rules Committee hearing on the resolution Tuesday evening, Congressman Tom Cole, the panel's ranking Republican, gave a similar warning. 

"In future years, this precedent may be used to give the majority veto power over the minority's committee assignments. That's a dangerous dark road for the institution to go down," Cole said. 

Despite that risk, Pelosi, who has the power to bring the resolution to the floor, said inaction is not an option after Gosar's actions.

"We cannot have members joking about murdering each other as well as threatening the President of the United States," Pelosi said. 

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