Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan on Tuesday defended the creation of a House subcommittee to investigate the “weaponization” of the federal government and excoriated Democrats for opposing the move.
“This is about the First Amendment, something you guys used to care about,” Jordan said on the House floor. “And I’d actually hoped we could get bipartisan agreement on protecting the First Amendment.”
The lower chamber voted 221-211 on party lines to establish the committee.
Jordan pointed to a bevy of ongoing controversies involving federal agencies, such as the Department of Justice labelling concerned parents as terrorists.
“It’s not a ploy when the Department of Justice treats parents as terrorists, moms and dads who are simply showing up at a school board meeting to advocate for their son or daughter,” he said.
The Ohio Republican further recalled reports that then-House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., had pressured Twitter to censor a journalist. He then cited incidents of the alleged “swatting” of pro-life activists, wherein authorities allegedly use unnecessary force to apprehend suspects as an example.
“Americans are sick and tired of it. And what we want, we don’t want to go after anyone. We just want it to stop, and we want to respect the First Amendment to the Constitution that the greatest country in the world has,” he continued. “That’s what this committee is all about. And that’s what we’re going to focus on. That’s what we’re going to do.”
Democrats have labelled the panel, which Jordan will likely lead, as the “tin-foil hat” committee, but will nonetheless sit members on the body.
“It’s in our best interest to make sure we are representing the will of the caucus and the American public, and that Republicans don’t have an opportunity behind closed doors to shape, and to add to, these conspiracy theories,” California Democratic Rep. Pete Aguilar said of the issue.