For Immediate Release: 
November 17, 2021
Contact Info: 
Margaret Mulkerrin 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor today in support of a resolution to censure Rep. Paul Gosar and remove him from the House Committee on Oversight and Reform and the House Committee on Natural Resources. Below are excerpts from his remarks and a link to the video.
Click here for the full video.
“I think all of us, would wish that we were not here, Madam Speaker, on a subject of this gravity, on a subject so present on our society at large: the exhortation to violence to accomplish one’s objectives.”

“So many get up and say, ‘I do not support violence. I do not support this action. But I will do nothing about it.’ Of course, they don't say the last sentence, they just don't do anything…This is not about control, as the [Republican] Leader would represent – it is about decency, democracy, and security. And the rule of law.”

“We have seen, Madam Speaker, over and over again in our politics that words matter, and actions matter even more. Vitriol, the glorification and promotion of violence, hate speech, and the failure to condemn all those when they occur have created an atmosphere in our country which, sadly, has now – and too frequently – been visited on this Floor. That is not conducive to the exercise of free, constitutional politics.”
“Former leader of my party, Dick Gephardt said, that democracy was a substitute for war. We should settle our differences peacefully and nonviolently. The speech that has been the subject of this resolution whittles away at the rule of law and the civility needed [for] constructive debate. Indeed, violent words and images are too often a precursor to the practice of violence. We have seen that, we saw it on January 6…My friend Gabby Giffords and Sen. Kelly know that all too well that violent words and images are too often a precursor. As does Rep. Speier, who worked for the late Rep. Leo Ryan and was herself badly injured in the shooting that took his life. As well, my friend, the Republican Whip, and his family, know that words can encourage, and result in violence. Last month, the family and constituents of Sir David Amess in the United Kingdom experienced the same pain.”
“All of us who were in this Capitol on January 6 and those who stood in defense of it know that pain. The loved ones of Officers Sicknick, Liebengood, Smith, Defreytag, and Hashida carry that pain with them every day. Officer Evans’s family as well has carried that pain since April. Madam Speaker, so do the families of elected officials, journalists, and civil society leaders who have been killed or maimed by political violence across the world….”
“It would be naive, Madam Speaker, to suppose that we can eradicate the promotion of violence in wider society, either in our country or abroad. Such evil has always existed… But constitutional parliamentarians worldwide have long understood that, in order to maintain the level of civility required to carry out the business of legislating for the people, we must have rules of decorum, and limits on speech that would cause civil debate to devolve into uncivil attacks and political violence. That's why we have rules in this House to enforce decorum and ensure civility. That's why we have Rules of Conduct, which the Chairman of the Ethics Committee read a little earlier.”
“It should be, and is, undebatable that this conduct violated that rule. Those rules apply not only to this Floor but everywhere a sitting Member engages in work relating to his or her service as Representative. When those rules were written, they did not anticipate a Member would threaten violence directly against another Member…
[They] didn't have to spell that out explicitly because it's always been understood that such behavior is unacceptable in this institution and incompatible with our service. Indeed, any kindergartener, frankly, Madam Speaker, will tell you that such behavior is wrong, anywhere.”
“The actions of Rep. Gosar this week and in weeks previously, much like the actions of Rep. Greene earlier this year, would convey a dangerous lesson to our children and teenagers that the opposite is true. That threatening violence against those with whom one disagrees is acceptable. It is not. That bullying and encouraging one's followers to menace another group is somehow compatible with decency in a democracy and, indeed, a civilized society. It is not. The resolution before us today is necessary because we in this House who speak for the American people must reflect, as the Speaker said, the highest standards of American society…

“[Former Republican Leader] Robert Michel said this: ‘Civility means being tough without being mean, being witty without being malicious, and…believing in the power of reason to influence public debate while still being aware of the power … of irrationality in public life.’ This resolution, Madam Speaker, is necessary because when Members of Congress and other elected officials speak and act, our constituents and followers give great weight to our words and actions…”
“What Rep. Gosar did last week is not just worthy of censure – it demands it. For anyone who threatens to apply the same standard to Democrats in the future, as Ms. Speier said, I'm with you. This is not about Republicans or Democrats, this is about decency. This is about security for our Members. This is about democracy. Not violent overthrow or opposition. I for one will join you in enforcing that standard on any Democrat who violates it…”
“No one, Democrat or Republican, ought to be allowed to engage in the promotion of violence against a fellow Member or indeed a fellow American. Because we know where the glorification and promotion of violence leads – we have seen it. We have seen it this year and previous years. Piercing tweets become sharp knives. Fiery words bring out deadly firearms. And cartoon killing begets real life bloodshed.”
“This resolution specifically addresses Rep. Gosar's acts but it also reflects more generally, Madam Speaker, what I hope is the sentiment shared by Members of both parties that we have seen too much of violent speech in our politics and in this country and it must end…I urge my colleagues to vote yes – on both sides of the aisle. To uphold a standard that should be critical to us all: some modicum of respect for those who are political opponents, Madam Speaker. And some restraint in the way we depict them and ourselves. Vote yes on this resolution."