A group of Democrats, led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is reportedly looking to “blackball” select Republican legislators who voted against certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College win, removing their names from pending litigation and blocking their future bills.
Politico reports that Democrats “eager to make their GOP colleagues pay for challenging President-elect Joe Biden’s 2020 election win” and they plan to “keep any legislation co-sponsored by anti-certification Republicans from seeing the light of day,” and potentially remove the “names of those Republicans from bill re-introductions.”
Unfortunately for Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA), who apparently cooked up the idea, Democratic leadership isn’t likely to go along with the plan, given that a full 130 House Republicans objected, at some point, to certifying at least one state’s Electoral College results — a number that Politico points out is most of the House Republican caucus — and many of those Republicans are votes President-elect Joe Biden will need to pass trickier elements of his agenda.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (D-CA), the House Minority Leader, was one of the 130, as were “10 members of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, which handles a huge swath of legislation that moves through the chamber,” and at least one member of the health subcommittee, whose help could be needed on any legislation having to do with the coronavirus pandemic.
“Some sources noted House Democratic leadership would have to make that call since the strategy could seriously impair bipartisan work just as Biden takes office on a pledge to unify a nation that’s more divided than ever,” the outlet noted. “And many Democrats privately noted that it could be a complicated, or even impossible, effort” to scrub members of what Ocasio-Cortez calls the “Sedition Caucus” from every past, present, and future bill.
It also sets a difficult precedent; objecting to Electoral College certification is nothing new, and a number of Democrats objected to certifying results in 2017.
For Ocasio-Cortez and others, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), “blackballing” would be a lesser punishment. On Friday, when Pelosi announced that she would be seeking to put a second round of impeachment charges against President Donald Trump to the House floor for a vote, she also suggested prominent Democrats consult her about the “14th Amendment, Section 3,” which provides a way to expel members of Congress who engage “in insurrection or rebellion against the” United States or give “aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”
Expelling a member of Congress is a much bigger ask, though. Two thirds of both the House and Senate must agree to expel a member of Congress. Yet, “Expulsion should be on the table,” Ocasio-Cortez said on a private call with House Democrats Monday.
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