House Democrats on Tuesday failed to shield progressive Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., from a looming censure, teeing up a vote on whether to punish her for inflammatory anti-Israel comments.
A single Democrat lawmaker joined most House Republicans to advance the censure resolution, a largely symbolic reprimand, with a vote to kill the measure falling short, 213-208.
Six Republican lawmakers voted to table the resolution, which would have effectively killed it – Reps. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., Ken Buck, R-Colo., John Duarte, R-Calif., Mike Garcia, R-Calif., Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., and Tom McClintock, R-Calif.
It was not immediately clear which Democrat lawmaker voted with Republicans to move the censure forward. The actual vote on censuring Tlaib is expected to now occur on Wednesday.
Tlaib, clad in a traditional Palestinian garment called a keffiyeh, sat in the front row of the House chamber between fellow progressive Reps. Cori Bush, D-Mo., and Summer Lee, D-Pa.
She spoke in her own defense after the vote, at one point nearly in tears while being consoled by Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.
‘It is important to separate people and governments,’ Tlaib said. ‘The idea that criticizing the Israeli government is antisemitic sets a dangerous precedent.’
Tlaib’s voice broke with emotion as she held up a photo of her grandmother as she said, ‘Palestinians are not disposable.’
She has been under fire by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle over her response to the war between Israel and Hamas. Tlaib, the only Palestinian American in Congress, has been vocal about the Israeli government for years and has recently espoused phrases that even her colleagues in the House Democrat caucus deemed antisemitic.
In particular, she has refused to apologize or acknowledge fault in echoing the phrase ‘from the river to the sea,’ which she claimed represented Palestinian freedom while most regard it as a call for Israel’s extermination. The phrase has also been co-opted by terror group Hamas, which infiltrated Israel on Oct. 7 and slaughtered 1,400 Israelis – mostly civilians.
House Republicans introduced two different censures aimed at censuring Tlaib on Monday.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., introduced a modified version of her previous Tlaib censure, which failed to advance last week. Meanwhile, Rep. Rich McCormick, R-Ga., one of the 22 Republicans to vote against Greene’s resolution, introduced his own.
McCormick’s resolution advanced on Tuesday afternoon while Greene’s is expected to have a preliminary vote later in the evening.
His legislation accused Tlaib of ‘promoting false narratives regarding the October 7, 2023, Hamas attack on Israel and for calling for the destruction of the state of Israel.’
Democrats’ bid to shield Tlaib largely failed due to having too many absences on their side of the aisle. If all members were present, Republicans could have only lost four votes to still advance the censure.