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House Republicans Explode As Capitol Police Enforce Masking Rules

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

House Republicans vehemently criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday after Capitol Police officials announced they would begin enforcing COVID-19 safety rules once again.

"In today's edition of Pelosi's abuse of power, Capitol Police have been directed to arrest staff and visitors to comply with her mask mandate for vaccinated individuals," Florida Rep. Kat Cammack tweeted.

"To be clear: Pelosi is directing police to ARREST vaccinated people who aren't wearing masks," added House Minority Whip Steve Scalise. "This isn't about science—it's about power and control."

Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik claimed in a separate tweet that Pelosi was an "authoritarian" for reissuing the mask directive, while Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs called it "insanity."

"Threatening arrest for not wearing a mask is unlawful and tyrannical!" he wrote.

Other Republican lawmakers dared the House Speaker to punish them for not complying.

"Nancy Pelosi has lost her damn mind, arresting staff and visitors for not wearing masks? This is the People's House, not her House," tweeted Florida Rep. Byron Donalds. "Let me make it easy for you, Speaker Pelosi, my office, and my visitors won't comply — have an issue with that? Come see me."

The barrage of complaints came after the Capitol Police issued a memo citing the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance urging vaccinated and unvaccinated people to wear masks in public indoor settings to curb the spread of the Delta coronavirus variant, and a decision by Congress' attending physician to require mask use in the federal building.

The CDC made its determination based on new evidence that some fully vaccinated people may still contract and spread the Delta variant.

House rules, adopted by the majority of its members in accordance with the Constitution, already require face mask use in the chamber. That rule had been eased prior to the latest public health data for vaccinated members, but was tightened again after two GOP lawmakers announced they had contracted COVID-19 in the past two weeks (one had been fully vaccinated, the other had previously had the disease).

The Capitol Police memo stated that any "visitor or staff member" found not wearing a mask would be "denied entry to the House." If an unmasked individual continued trying to circumvent the rule, it read, they could be "subject to an arrest."

Many of the Republicans lashing out on Thursday have made efforts in the past to frame themselves as defenders of "law and order."

In a July 1 tweet, Stefanik branded herself "the North Country's Law & Order Candidate."

And in February, Biggs claimed only Republicans could be considered "the party of the Constitution, law and order, freedom, and smaller government."

On Wednesday, Republicans spent more than an hour of House time making repeated failed motions to adjourn the work day, in protest of the mask requirements. During a floor speech, Texas Rep. Chip Roy suggested that the "institution is a sham and we should adjourn and shut this place down" over the reintroduced safety measures.

On Thursday, Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) said that she had directed staff to work from home over the requirements, tweeting, "No one should be arrested over a mask. We should follow the science not Speaker Pelosi."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

As Virus Surges, Republicans Throw ’Temper Tantrum’ On House Floor

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Republican lawmakers repeatedly tried to adjourn the House of Representatives on Wednesday, preferring to head home rather than comply with new coronavirus safety measures.

On Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that "masks will be once again be required in the Hall of the House," for all members and staff, except while members are recognized to speak.

The change came due to an order from Dr. Brian Monahan, Congress' attending physician, deeming masks necessary to keep members and their employees safe.

It followed new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on Tuesday warning that the delta variant can be caught and transmitted by some fully vaccinated people and urging some face mask use in indoor public places, even among those who have been inoculated.

At 11:26 a.m., Texas Rep. Chip Roy made the first motion to adjourn. He had just completed an angry floor speech in which he argued that the "institution is a sham and we should adjourn and shut this place down," because the Democratic majority had reinstituted a mask requirement in response to the spread of the delta variant.

Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert, a staunch opponent of COVID-19 safety measures, who reportedly threw a face mask at a House staffer who had urged her to comply with the rule earlier in the day, tweeted, "If the threat of the Biden Border variant is truly so dangerous in the U.S. House of Representatives, we should adjourn."

After 38 minutes of voting, Roy's motion failed — but 197 House Republicans backed his attempt to leave work for the rest of the day and head home.

At 1:31 p.m., Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) proceeded to the floor and made another motion to adjourn. After a 34-minute vote, his motion too was defeated, 174-216.

Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) described the motions in a tweet as a "mass temper tantrum over Covid guidance."

In total, more than an hour was wasted on the two motions, on a busy day when the House was considering funding bills for several branches of the federal government.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) slammed the stunts, tweeting that the Republicans "want to go home instead of working for the people," and noting that "anyone else trying to leave work in the middle of [the] work day would be fired."

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) mocked his GOP colleagues for throwing a "temper tantrum" just because representatives "were asked to do what the rest of the country has been asked to do: wear a mask."

The attempts to adjourn, rather than comply with COVID-19 safety requirements, are at odd with Republican leaders who accused the Democratic majority over a year ago of dereliction of duty for opting to let some members work from home, rather than coming to the Capitol during a pandemic.

"Across our nation, Americans of all stripes are making sacrifices and doing their part to defeat this virus — and they expect Washington to do the same," House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Rep. Rodney Davis of Illinois — the ranking member of the Committee on House Administration — and Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, the ranking member of the Committee on Rules, wrote in a May 2020 joint statement.

"Unfortunately, far from being 'captains of this ship' as Speaker Pelosi recently proclaimed, the Democrats' proposal calls for the House of Representatives to abandon ship — potentially for the remainder of the session," they claimed at the time.

In just the past 10 days, two House Republicans have announced that they have tested positive for COVID-19.

Florida Rep. Vern Buchanan said last Monday that he contracted the virus despite being fully vaccinated. Louisiana Rep. Clay Higgins revealed Sunday that he and his family also have COVID-19, even though they had it previously.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Unvaccinated Republican Leads Anti-Mask Tantrum On House Floor

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

A Kentucky Republican who is not vaccinated, and says he has no plans to be, led an anti-mask protest on the House floor — protesting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's decision to keep a mask mandate following new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) was the organizer of the protest, according to multiple reports. Massie, along with nearly a dozen other GOP lawmakers, refused to wear masks in the House chamber even though they are still required. The lawmakers face fines for their behavior, as part of House rules.

"We've had enough," Massie tweeted on Tuesday. "We are refusing to wear our masks on the floor during this vote in spite of Pelosi's threat to take $500 from each of us. Her rule is not based on science. All you need to know is the mask rule has only ever applied to members when they can be seen on TV!"

Even if Pelosi had changed the guidance based on the CDC's new guidance — which says fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks indoors — Massie would still not be able to take his mask off under the House rules, as he has not been vaccinated.

The rest of the lawmakers who joined Massie's protest — including Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA), Lauren Boebert (CO), Brian Mast (FL), Chip Roy (TX), Madison Cawthorn (NC), Beth Van Duyne (TX), Louie Gohmert (TX), Ralph Norman (SC), and Mary Miller (IL) — would not tell NBC News reporter Haley Talbot whether they are fully vaccinated.

But some of those lawmakers, like Greene, have said they had no plans to get the vaccine.

And others have made anti-vaccine comments in the past, including Boebert, who in the fall of 2020 came out against all vaccine requirements, such as public school rules that students be vaccinated before starting.

Of the lawmakers in the protest, only one — Norman — has publicly confirmed being vaccinated, according to a CNN survey of every member of Congress. Meanwhile, every single Democratic lawmaker in both the House and Senate is vaccinated.

It's not the first time some of these lawmakers blatantly disregarded mask rules.

During the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6, Greene was one of a handful of GOP lawmakers who refused to wear masks in a safe room where members of Congress were hidden from the violent Donald Trump-supporting mob that was ransacking the building.

Republicans have been fighting mask mandates since the early days of the pandemic, even though public health experts said face coverings were the best way to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus until vaccines were widely available.

And now that vaccines are available, many of those same Republicans lawmakers are refusing to get the vaccine, which could complicate efforts to end the pandemic.

Polls have shown that Republican voters are more hesitant to get vaccinated than Democratic and independent voters. And vaccine rates in states across the country bear that out, with blue states having far higher vaccination rates than red ones. President Joe Biden carried all 10 of the states that currently have the highest vaccination rates, according to the New York Times vaccine tracker.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Texas GOP Says Rep. Roy’s Lynching Endorsement Was ‘Inappropriate’

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

The Republican Party of Texas called out one of its own on Friday for pro-lynching comments made during a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee on violence against Asian Americans. But it rejected demands from Democrats that Rep. Chip Roy resign from Congress.

The committee's ranking member, Roy said during the hearing on Thursday, "The victims of race-based violence and their families deserve justice" before immediately pivoting away from the subject, saying, "I would also suggest that the victims of cartels moving illegal aliens deserve justice. The American citizens in south Texas, they are getting absolutely decimated by what's happening at the southern border deserve justice. The victims of rioting and looting in the street ... last summer deserve justice."

Roy then went on:

We believe in justice. There are old sayings in Texas about find all the rope in Texas and get a tall oak tree. We take justice very seriously. And we ought to do that. Round up the bad guys. That's what we believe. My concern about this hearing is that it seems to want to venture into the policing of rhetoric in a free society, free speech, and away from the rule of law and taking out bad guys.

Allen West, the pro-secession state GOP chair and former Florida congressman, said in a statement, "Congressman Chip Roy's comments were inappropriate and unfortunate, no one should infer hanging as a metaphor." He added, "My recommendation to Congressman Chip Roy would be to engage the brain before firing the mouth, it would avoid embarrassing situations such as this."

But West dismissed suggestions that Roy should step down for the comments, writing, "While his comments about hanging were dumb, they're not grounds for resignation."

Roy also repeated the inflammatory statement that China's government is to blame for the coronavirus pandemic, calling it "the bad guys."

After Democratic colleagues, including Rep. Grace Meng, the first Asian American to represent New York in Congress, called out Roy's comments, the Texas Republican doubled down on them Thursday evening.

"Apparently some folks are freaking out that I used an old expression about finding all the rope in Texas and a tall oak tree about carrying out justice against bad guys. I meant it. We need more justice and less thought policing," he told NBC News. "We should restore order by tamping out evil actors, not turn America into an authoritarian state like the Chinese Communists who seek to destroy us. No apologies."

Others condemning Roy included Texas Democrats Chair Gilberto Hinojosa, who put out a statement on Thursday calling on Roy to resign immediately. "It is an outrage, and terrifying, to hear a Congressman claiming any connection between lynchings and justice," he wrote. "Roy's comments are painful and offensive to a country reeling from the horrifying anti-Asian attacks in Atlanta this week. Roy is perpetuating the racist systems that harm us and contributing to the terror people of color face every day in our country."

Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan also blasted Roy, telling CNN his comments were "shameful and disgusting and disgraceful."

Roy responded to West's criticism by complaining that he had not reached out to him personally. He told the Texas Tribune that his analogy had come from "a Willie Nelson lyric" and promised, "I will continue to 'engage my brain' to combat the leftist mob which demands that we police speech rather than focus on fighting evil-doers - be they murderers, cartels, or the dangerous Chinese Communist Party."

"Beer for My Horses," a 2003 song recorded by Nelson and Toby Keith, contains the line: "Take all the rope in Texas, find a tall oak tree, round up all of them bad boys, hang them high in the street, for all the people to see."

Roy is no stranger to making comments that draw immediate and strong criticism.

In January, he warned that if Democrats won runoff elections for Georgia's two Senate seats, the nation would find itself in a "hot" civil war.

Last year, he smeared a 20-year-old survivor of the 2018 shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, as "functionally illiterate" for his criticism of Donald Trump's family separation policies, compared anti-racism protesters to the white former cop charged with murdering George Floyd, and likened coronavirus safety guidelines to "Nazi Germany."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

GOP Rep. Roy Glorifies Lynching At Hearing On Anti-Asian Violence

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Actor and activist George Takei is criticizing Rep. Chip Roy after the Texas Republican congressman glorified lynchings as a form of "justice" during a House hearing on anti-Asian American violence.

Rep. Roy's remarks come just two days after a Georgia gunman shot to death eight people – seven women, six of whom were Asian American, and just one day after he voted against renewing the Violence Against Women Act.

Congressman Roy insisted on trying to divert Thursday's hearing's focus away from attacks on Asian Americans. He made clear he opposes what he called "policing" derogatory rhetoric, and wants the focus to be on "taking out bad guys," while not understanding that derogatory rhetoric, like that promoted by former President Donald Trump about AAPI people can easily lead to increased violence.

"There's old sayings in Texas about, you know, find all the rope in Texas and get a tall oak tree. You know, we take justice very seriously, and we ought to do that. Round up the bad guys," Roy suggested. "That's what we believe."

Takei slammed Rep. Roy, retweeting the above video and saying, "One of the worst lynching incidents in our history was perpetrated against the Chinese community of Los Angeles when some 20 people were killed and hanged by an angry white mob. This language is unacceptable, and Chip Roy is an ignorant inciter."

Roy beat Democrat Wendy Davis last year by seven points in his re-election battle.

UPDATE: Roy later issued a statement doubling down on his endorsement of lynching. "I meant it," he said.


Longtime Hate Group Amplifies GOP Immigration Rhetoric

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

An anti-immigration group with long-standing ties to white nationalism has spent the last week amplifying harsh Republican rhetoric on immigration, some of which was created by the group itself.

The Federation for American Immigration Reform, which goes by the acronym FAIR, has used its social media accounts, which are followed by millions of people, to promote the Republican Party's attacks on Democratic President Joe Biden.

On Wednesday, the group hosted a video stream of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of conservative lawmakers seeking to push Republican leadership to the right, on its Facebook page as House Republicans held a press event in front of the Capitol on "Biden Border Crisis." FAIR has over 2.3 million followers on Facebook, and another 413,000-plus more on Twitter, where it also promoted the stream.

The event's slogan, which has been on the lips of multiple Republicans for the last few weeks, took hold after FAIR issued a press release on Jan. 21, the day after Biden was sworn into office, accusing Biden of "inducing an immigration and border crisis."

The Biden administration's Homeland Security secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, has said the challenges at the border are largely due to inheriting an immigration system he described as having been "gutted" by the Trump team.

FAIR and its Republican allies have continued their attacks nonetheless.

In just one week on Twitter, FAIR has promoted several immigration-related tweets from Republicans in Congress. They have retweeted Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), and shared Rep. Dan Bishop's (R-NC) comments twice.

Additionally, FAIR tweeted out stories reporting on Republicans pushing FAIR's message on immigration, including remarks from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, also a Republican.

FAIR has also shared immigration tweets from the Republican Study Committee, the largest conservative caucus in Congress, and the official account for Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee. The tweet from the Judiciary Committee minority was a request to get FAIR's language in the hashtag "#BidenBorderCrisis" to trend on Twitter.

FAIR has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and has longstanding ties to white nationalism.

The organization's founder and board member John Tanton wrote in 1986 that " whites see their power and control over their lives declining," and said, "for European-American society and culture to persist requires a European-American majority."

Tanton ran the Social Contract Press, a publishing company that republished the anti-immigrant novel The Camp of Saints, which describes "swarthy hordes" of Indian immigrants overrunning France and calls immigrants "monsters." The book is reportedly a favorite of former Trump White House official Stephen Miller.

Additionally, for nearly 10 years FAIR took over $1.2 million in grants from the Pioneer Fund, which advocated for eugenics.

But the group's past has not prevented Republicans from repeatedly hosting representatives from FAIR to give Congressional testimony, and now both find themselves pushing the same anti-immigrant rhetoric once again.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Texas Republican Touts ‘Hot Civil War’ If Democrats Win Georgia Runoffs

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) claimed on Monday that if Democrats win two Georgia Senate races, the country will erupt into another civil war.

"What happens tomorrow in Georgia, if we have a Democratically controlled Senate, we're now at basically full-scale hot conflict in this country, whereas right now we're at a cold civil war," he told Fox News.

"If Georgians don't show up and ensure that we hold the Senate in Republican hands, then that's what's happening. Two additional votes coming out of the Senate in Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico and they lock it down for good," he said.


Roy was referring to Tuesday runoff elections — one between Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) and Democrat Raphael Warnock, the other between Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) and Democrat Jon Ossoff — that will determine what party holds a majority in the Senate for the next two years.

His suggestion of civil war comes just weeks after his own state party chair, Allen West, urged "law-abiding states should bond together and form a Union of states that will abide by the constitution." West denied that this was a call for pro-Trump states to secede from the union.

Republicans have attempted to make the Georgia Senate races a referendum on whether millions of Americans in Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia should be given full representation in Congress — hoping that conservative voters in the state will be motivated to stop other citizens from having the same rights they enjoy. Like Roy, they have suggested that statehood for the citizens of those two territories would make it impossible for Republicans to ever again hold a majority in the Senate.

This argument makes little sense. While Washington, D.C., has been reliably Democratic, Puerto Ricans have elected several Republicans — including their current resident commissioner, a non-voting delegate in the U.S. House of Representatives. And even if Democrats had gained four new Senate seats in the last Congress, Republicans would still have held a 53 to 51 majority.

In just one term in Congress, Roy has already amassed a long record of extreme comments. Last year, he attacked a 20-year-old survivor of the Parkland mass school shooting as "functionally illiterate" for criticizing Donald Trump's family separation policies, likened anti-racism protesters to the white former cop charged with murdering George Floyd, and compared pandemic safety guidelines to "Nazi Germany."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Republicans Put Each Other On Blast As Party Erupts Over Trump

While the 117th Congress began its first working day, every member of the Republican caucus in both houses confronted a moral quandary: Promote Trump and my own ambitions, or defend the Constitution I swore to protect.

The day began with former House Speaker Paul Ryan blasting the efforts of some of his fellow Republicans to overturn a free and fair election.

In a blistering statement, Ryan:

"Efforts to reject the votes of the Electoral College and sow doubt about Joe Biden's victory strike at the foundation of our republic. It is difficult to conceive of a more anti-democratic and anti-conservative act than a federal intervention to overturn the results of state-certified elections and disenfranchise millions of Americans. The Trump campaign had ample opportunity to challenge election results, and those efforts failed from lack of evidence. The legal process was exhausted, and the results were decisively confirmed. The Department of Justice, too, found no basis for overturning the result. If states wish to reform their processes for future elections, that is their prerogative. But Joe Biden's victory is entirely legitimate."
Ryan, who served as Speaker during the first two years of Trump's term, has largely avoided commenting on the news since leaving office, though he did urge soon to be ex-President Trump to accept the results of the election in March, according to The Hill. That was only be the start of a long day that revealed a deepening GOP divide.

Rep. Thomas Massie, a Kentucky Republican, released a joint statement revealing his concern over some of his colleagues planning to overturn the election on January 6 in a vote that is supposed to be ceremonial.

"We, like most Americans, are outraged at the significant abuses in our election system resulting from the reckless adoption of mail-in ballots and the lack of safeguards maintained to guarantee that only legitimate votes are cast and counted," read Massie's statement, released jointly with several colleges including two who signed the amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to throw out votes in states Trump lost.

"But only states have authority to appoint electors," the letter continued. "Our job on January 6 is to determine whether these are the electors the states sent us, not whether these are the electors the states should have sent us," wrote Massie and his colleagues.




Rep. Chip Roy, a Republican from Texas, signed Massie's statement but took his displeasure at the effort to overturn the election a step further -- by releasing his own statement shredding the hypocrisy of many swing-state colleagues. He made a symbolic but strong statement opposing their seating in the new Congress.

"After all, those representatives [who oppose confirming the electoral vote] were elected through the very same systems -- with the same ballot procedures, with the same signature validations, with the same broadly applied decisions of executive and judicial branch officials-- as were the electors chosen for the President of the United States under the laws of those states, which have become the subject of national controversy," Roy's letter read.