A group of Democrats in the US House of Representatives introduced a bill on Wednesday to strip Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert of her committee assignments over her recent Islamophobic remarks.
Introduced by Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, the bill represents a bid to pressure Democratic leadership to punish Ms Boebert for her comments attacking Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.
Ms Pressley also unveiled a letter signed by more than 400 Democratic congressional staffers, including more than 50 Muslims, calling on Democratic leaders to “categorically reject the incendiary rhetoric” of Ms Boebert.
“We have heard the hate and credible threats that have been directed at Ms Omar and her staff,” Ms Pressley said at a press conference.
“We must acknowledge that and respond with action.
“We've introduced this resolution today to do just that and to send a powerful message to every Muslim and every marginalised person who has ever questioned their place in this country or in the halls of power.”
Ms Omar was not at the press conference but last week said Democratic leaders should strip Ms Boebert of her committees.
During an event in her Colorado district last month, Ms Boebert said Ms Omar, a Somali-American Muslim from Minnesota, is a member of the “jihad squad” and made a joke about being stuck in a lift with Ms Omar and fearing she was a suicide bomber.
After apologising to the Muslim community, Ms Boebert proceeded to double down on her attacks during a phone call with Ms Omar, during which she called her “anti-American” and suggested that she was “sympathising with terrorists".
“It is hard being Muslim in our country right now and this makes it worse,” Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib said.
“It is important for us to understand this is a national platform that we cannot allow her to use to evoke … hate speech that's evoked violence and danger towards a whole people in our country.”
House Democratic leaders have not yet committed to moving the legislation sanctioning Ms Boebert forward, but Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries noted on Wednesday that he expects some punitive action against the Colorado Republican.
“It is my expectation that Lauren Boebert is going to be held accountable,” Mr Jeffries told reporters at a separate press conference on Wednesday.
Notably, former Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz — who has previously condemned Ms Omar for her comments on pro-Israel lobbying activity — also voiced support for stripping Ms Boebert of her committees.
“This incendiary, incendiary rhetoric fans hatred towards Muslims, much like the violence-laced bombast we heard aimed at Jews and other minorities in the streets of Charlottesville,” said Ms Wasserman Schultz, referring to a 2017 white supremacist rally in Virginia where one of the attendees murdered a counter-protester in a car ramming attack.
“That hate must not be ignored and staying silent is not an option. Certainly not when it's uttered by those who work in Congress.”