GOP lawmakers threaten to punish Democrats if they win back control of Congress

1994

'When we take the majority back in 2022, I'll make sure consequences are doled out,' said Rep. Madison Cawthorn.

Republicans are outraged that Democrats are governing by majority rule in the House. In retaliation, they are vowing to do the same things they now decry as unprecedented and wrong.

"Never in the history of our country has a Speaker acted like such an authoritarian," House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy tweeted on Thursday.

He was upset that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had rejected his request to appoint Republican Reps. Jim Banks (IN) and Jim Jordan (OH) to the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol. Both men voted to overturn the 2020 election results and pushed the lie that President Joe Biden only won because the election was stolen.

"Never in the history of Congress and the select committee — I checked with the historian — has this ever taken place, where the one party decides who's all on the committee," McCarthy (R-CA) told Fox News in a video he shared with his tweet. McCarthy in fact voted to give Republican then-Speaker John Boehner the exact same unilateral appointment power in 2014 for the Select Committee on the Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi.

But while House Republicans claim they are being mistreated because the majority won't let them have their way, they are also promising to retaliate — by turning the same actions they criticize now against Democrats in 2023.

Democrats currently hold a 220-211 majority in the House, with four seats vacant. Republicans hope to regain the majority in the 2022 midterm elections. Though no votes have been cast, McCarthy is so confident of victory that he has offered to bet his "personal house" on it and called Pelosi a "lame duck speaker."

Several House Republicans told the Washington Post on Thursday that their party will likely retaliate by kicking Democrats off of committees in the next Congress.

"There's going to be a bit of a 'turnabout is fair play,'" predicted Nebraska Rep. Don Bacon. "What they're doing is they're laying the seeds for very unpleasant behavior in about a year and a half. And I don't think it's right; it's not good for the institution."

"There will be a strong appetite for revenge when we're in the majority next time, and there will certainly be discussions in our conference whether we do it or not," North Carolina Rep. Richard Hudson warned. Hudson claimed to personally oppose such a move.

Other Republicans told the paper that Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Adam Schiff (D-CA), and Eric Swalwell (D-CA) would likely be ejected from their committee assignments in a GOP-majority House.

On Wednesday, North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn told the right-wing website Real America's Voice that a GOP majority would also somehow use its power to punish the nation's top epidemiologist, Dr. Anthony Fauci, for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

"We want to prosecute this guy to the full ability of the law," Cawthorn claimed, though the Constitution expressly prohibits Congress doing so. "When we take the majority back in 2022, I'll make sure consequences are doled out."

In May, Banks opposed creating a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack, baselessly claiming that the commission would be staffed only by Democrats.

"If Speaker McCarthy told House Dems that committee staffing would ONLY be made up by Republican staffers, Dems and their friends in the media would rage and howl about the lack of bipartisanship," he tweeted at the time. "Perhaps future Speaker McCarthy should consider such a proposal in 2023?!"

And in February, Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) demanded payback for Democrats who voted to take away Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene's committee assignments over her record of antisemitic, racist, Islamophobic, and pro-QAnon comments and actions.

"Soliciting feedback on which Democrats should be removed from their committees when we retake the majority. Because it's definitely happening," he promised. "Democrats created a dangerous new precedent, and they will have to pay the price for it."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.