House blocks censorship of Tlaib on charges of anti-Semitism

The House of Representatives on Wednesday rejected a Republican effort to formally reprimand Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Michigan, for her participation in a recent pro-Palestinian protest in which she accused Israel of genocide, as a solid bloc of Republicans joined Democrats in rejecting the move.

The vote was 222 to 186 to bring up or kill a resolution of censure against Ms. Tlaib, the only Palestinian-American member of Congress, offered by Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, Republican of Georgia. The measure accused Ms Tlaib of “anti-Semitic activity” and referred to the October 8 protest as an “uprising”.

Twenty-three Republicans broke with their party by voting to kill her.

It was the first in a series of disciplinary measures scheduled for Wednesday by the House, which resumes legislative business this week after nearly a month of paralysis and Republican infighting. The measures represented a cycle of partisan blame-shifting and institutional infighting and included clashing accusations of anti-Semitism.

After the vote to convict Ms. Tlaib, the House planned to turn to efforts to formally reprimand Ms. Greene for “racist rhetoric and conspiracy theories,” citing her past anti-Semitic statements, anti-LGBTQ+ remarks, and her praise and support for the team accused in connection with the attack on Capitol on January 6, 2021. But the measure was abruptly dropped after Ms Tlaib’s conviction failed.

Although some Democrats publicly and privately expressed discomfort with some of Ms. Tlaib’s comments, all supported the effort to kill the conviction. Some cited language in Ms. Greene’s resolution that referred to the Oct. 8 protest as an “uprising” — a term that also alienated some Republicans.

Many Democrats argued that the measure was a racist attack against Ms. Tlaib.

“They want to convict her because she’s brown,” Rep. Maxwell Alejandro Frost, D-Florida, said on the way to the vote.

And some Republicans said they didn’t want to waste time on partisan measures when legislative work needed to be done.

“The first thing I would consider is that we want to get back to work,” said Representative John Duarte, Republican of California. “This is not a job. We’ve had enough of this. We have to make appropriations. We have allies on fire around the world, and we should not be slapping our hands.”

The measure was “privileged” under House rules, meaning it had a special status that required it to be acted upon quickly and was not subject to the authority of party leaders who typically control which legislation is considered when.

The resolution and a separate bid to expel Rep. George Santos, a New York Republican who has been charged with fraud, theft of public funds and identity theft, overshadowed legislative business in the House on Wednesday.

Lawmakers of both parties have complained that the proposed censures — a form of reprimand one step below expulsion once reserved for the rarest of circumstances but now increasingly common — are part of an escalation of inflammatory statements that have become all too common.

“I could spend a week denouncing what one of them said was outrageous,” Representative Steny H. Hoyer, Democrat of Maryland, told Republicans.

“I stand up for free speech even when I disagree with people,” said Representative Victoria Spartz, Republican of Indiana. She added that she defended Ms. Greene and Ms. Tlaib, among others, “when they sometimes say crazy things.”

She added that Ms. Greene’s decision to label Ms. Tlaib a rebel crossed the line.

Annie Carney and Kayla Guo contributed to the reporting.

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