Letter to Hon. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House; Hon. Steny Hoyer, House Majority Leader; and Hon. James Clyburn, House Majority Whip - In Letter, Phillips Calls on Congressional Leaders to Immediately Reconvene and Address the Assault on our Democracy
Dear Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Hoyer, and Majority Whip Clyburn:
We write to ask respectfully that the House reconvene immediately to reckon with the assault on our democracy that we experienced on January 6th.
That assault is not over. The insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol, while conducting similar well telegraphed actions across the country, have made clear that they feel emboldened by yesterday's shameful events. President Trump continues to spread the lies that inspired the attackers, and said after the assault that this is "only the beginning."
While we should take pride in finishing the work of certifying the presidential election and demonstrating to the world that Congress cannot be intimidated, this is not enough. We should show the American people that Congress is continuing to meet its responsibilities in the face of extraordinary threats, including by strengthening our nation's defenses against these threats and by holding accountable those who enable them. Therefore, we are requesting that the House of Representatives immediately reconvene at such time that the Sergeant at Arms deems the Capitol Complex safe for members and staff.
There is much that Congress could do when we reconvene.
We could consider measures already pending that are highly relevant to the present crisis, for example Representative Wasserman Schultz's resolution to censure a member of the House for inciting violence, and a resolution sponsored by Representatives Malinowski and Phillips that would ask the House to affirm that Members elected from the so called "contested" states were freely and fairly elected.
We could take up the question of whether President Trump should be censured or impeached for encouraging a violent attack on the United States Congress, as well as Representative Raskin's proposal that Congress appoint a body, as provided by the 25th Amendment, to determine whether the President is fit to discharge the powers and duties of his office.
We could consider the establishment of a Select Committee on Violent Domestic Extremism, to address the full implications of a threat to our safety and democracy that has not been taken seriously enough, and how to fight it through better law enforcement, pressure on or regulation of social media, and international cooperation. We can pass again legislation on domestic terrorism that moved through the House in the 116th Congress, and which now has a chance to move through the Senate -- for example H.R. 3106, the Domestic and International Terrorism DATA Act; H.R. 4192, the Confronting the Threat of Domestic Terrorism Act; H.R. 5602, the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act; and H.R. 3545, the National Opposition to Hate, Assault, and Threats to Equality (NO HATE) Act.
We recognize that many members and staff experienced traumatic events yesterday, and may not wish to be in the Capitol. The remote voting procedures that are once again in place are available for all who choose to use them, and of course staff may work remotely as well.
Meanwhile, we can and should demonstrate continuity of government at a moment when the President is incapable of leading and the executive branch is in total disarray. We are the only branch of government that is capable of governing this country and led by sane and competent people. Going home and staying home until the eve of President Biden's inauguration should not be an option.