Democrats continue to press for action against Gosar, call for censure
But James Wallner, a senior fellow at the R Street Institute, questioned whether the House should be censuring members when “there are more important debates to be had.” The video may be disturbing, he said, but that it was still speech for which accommodations should be made.
“Disciplining members for activity, for speech, for action, for using rules and procedures or for doing things that people find distasteful, makes it harder for Congress’ members to debate and compromise, as envisioned in the Constitution,” Wallner said Friday.
“This isn’t a question of whether or not we like what Rep. Gosar has done,” he said. “It’s a question of what the consequences are of the House using its procedures to punish Rep. Gosar and what those consequences are for Congress more broadly and its role in our political system and the health of our politics.”
But Wallner warned that taking action against members will have a “longer, more damaging effect on our system.”
“While obviously there are some things out there that are extremely distasteful that shouldn’t be tolerated, I think we should always err on the side of allowing for speech and trying to encourage an environment conducive to critical inquiry and robust debate on Capitol Hill, and not be engaged in censuring lawmakers for activities,” he said.