WASHINGTON — It's purge o'clock again in the GOP. But House Republicans aren't rushing to ostracize Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., who publicly posted a video of an animated version of himself killing a Democratic colleague and attacking President Joe Biden. Instead, their fury is aimed at 13 GOP colleagues who voted with most Democrats — and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. — for Biden's $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill. At the exact moment that Democrats largely unified, the Republican fracture over fealty to former President Donald Trump revealed itself anew. Trump called the recalcitrants "RINOs" — Republicans in name only — after last week's House vote, saying they should be "ashamed of themselves" for supporting "Democrat longevity." And one of his chief allies is calling for vengeance. The question for "our conference is whether or not we will allow people to be designated as Republican leaders on major committees and subcommittees while they fight for the Joe Biden agenda and against the America First agenda," Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., said on NewsMax. "If that isn't cleaned up, if that isn't corrected, then the current Republican minority you see in the House might not be ready to earn the majority." And Punchbowl News reported Tuesday that GOP leaders are bracing for calls for the 13 to be stripped of committee assignments. These potential sanctions differ in degree, but share a purpose: to intimidate Republicans from stepping off the party line, as drawn by Trump. While GOP leaders can't remove rank-and-file lawmakers from their committees — that's technically the purview of the full Democratic-majority House and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. — the political bloodlust sends another unmistakable message that Republican elected officials are subject to punishment if they put their constituents' interests ahead of their loyalty to Trump. It also shines a bright light on divisions within the party at a time when Republican leaders would prefer to present a unified front against Biden's agenda and cast Democrats as disorderly. "History has a funny way of repeating itself, and, unfortunately, members haven't learned from mistakes of the past," said one former House GOP leadership aide. "The circular firing squad benefits nobody but the other side." The calculus on committee assignments is a different equation from the one Republicans considered earlier this year when they removed Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., from the No. 3 post in GOP leadership over her vote to impeach Trump, as . . . read the full article here.
Keywords: voting, lawmakers, leaders, calls, republicans, republican, biden, leads, gop, rep, punishment, trump, house, democrats, conference
DATE: 2020, Jan. 6, Monday, January, Tuesday, next week, this year, last week's, earlier this year
NORP: Democrat, Democrats, Democratic, Republican, Republicans
MONEY: $1.2 trillion
CARDINAL: 3, 13, one, dozen