WASHINGTON — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi dared House Speaker Paul Ryan to follow through on his punishment threats for the Democrats’ sit in last week.
Ryan told reporters Thursday that he is considering “all options and consequences” to punish Democrats for the sit-in their party engaged in over gun control.
“Looking back, I didn’t think that was appropriate. One of the things that concern me with this move is the precedence it sets. We are the oldest democracy in the world. We operate on a constitution and a legislative brand of government where were supposed to debate our rules and our laws civilly with rules and laws and if we break those rules how can we have civilized democracy,” Ryan told reporters Thursday.
The 114 Congress Rules state: “[Each House may] punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member. Among the punishments that the House may impose under this provision, the rules of the Committee on Ethics outline the following: (1) expulsion from the House; (2) censure; (3) reprimand; (4) fine; (5) denial or limitation of any right, power, privilege, or immunity of the Member if not in violation of the Constitution; or (6) any other sanction determined by the Committee to be appropriate (rule 24, Committee on Ethics, 114th Cong.). Under rule 10 of the rules of that committee, a statement of alleged violation must be proven by clear and convincing evidence.”
“If we turn the House of Representatives into a partisan warzone complete with tweeting, Periscoping and electronic devices, then we have eviscerated any vestige of bipartisanship,” Ryan said.
He later noted he received “a number of recommendations from dispassionate objective authorities here in Congress from the Sargent of arms. We have the rules committee looking at it. We don’t want to do this in a rash, wrong way.”
Should there be a rebuke or a reprimand?
“All those things we are considering right now,” Ryan replied. “We had a good meeting with the parliamentarian. We’re considering — every option is on the table. We just had our meeting with the Sergeant at Arms and the Parliamentarian who did and exhaustive review, who researched the table, looked at what kind of infractions occurred, looked at what kind of rules were violated — and so we’re looking at all of those things, because my big concern is that a bad trend happens, where we throw the rule of law out the window.”
Ryan noted that if Democrats want to bring their bills to the floor, they can do so through regular order — either by a discharge petition or through motions to recommit.
Pelosi, however, blew off Ryan’s threats, snapping back, “Make my day” several times.
“What are they saying? We used technology on the floor? Members use technology on the floor all the time,” she said, daring the GOP to take action against Georgia Democratic Rep. John Lewis, often touted by the party a civil rights icon for his participation in the 1965 march in Selma, Alabama.
“We are never going to protect the American people because we are a fully owned subsidiary of the National Rifle Association, so let’s tell John Lewis that he’s performing a political stunt,” Pelosi said. “John Lewis said, ‘That’s what they said when we crossed the bridge in Selma 51 years ago.'”
“So you know, if they want to start [an] investigation on Lewis for sitting on the floor of the House, [or] they’re going to investigate somebody for using a cellphone on the floor of the House — I don’t think so,” she added. “But it would be interesting to see.”