Republican Committee Chairs Vow Congressional Response to College Protests

Joseph Lord
By Joseph Lord
May 1, 2024Congress
Republican Committee Chairs Vow Congressional Response to College Protests
Speaker of the House Mike Johnson speaks during a news conference about the pro-Palestinian protests occurring on college campuses nationwide on Capitol Hill in Washington on April 30, 2024. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) and the chairs of several of Congress’ most important committees vowed on Tuesday to respond to the ongoing anti-Israel protests at universities across the United States.

“Antisemitism is a virus. Because the administration and university presidents aren’t stepping in, we’re seeing it spread,” Mr. Johnson said. “We have to act and House Republicans will speak to this fateful moment with moral clarity.”

He dismissed college protestors as “terrorist sympathizers,” noting that many had been seen waving flags in support of Hamas, Hezbollah, and other Islamic terrorist groups.

“You will see Congress respond,” Mr. Johnson said. “You’re gonna see funding begin to dry up, and you’re gonna see every level of accountability we can muster.”

Mr. Johnson said that “nearly every committee” on Capitol Hill has some role in responding to these protests and “stop[ping] the madness that has ensued.”

House Republican Conference chairwoman Elise Stefanie (R-N.Y.), who’s taken a lead in combatting and condemning these incidents, said during her remarks that “moral leadership … is sorely lacking among these university presidents.”

She accused “far-left governors,” President Joe Biden, and university administrators of ignoring the rising anti-Semitism and violence and “refusing to enforce the laws.”

She cited several instances of the consequences of this refusal: at Yale University, a Jewish student claimed to have been stabbed in the eye with a Hamas flag; the University of Southern California canceled graduation because they couldn’t guarantee students’ safety; at Columbia University, the epicenter of the protests, students seized control of Hamilton Hall.

“It is clear that Jewish families across this country, Americans across this country are looking for moral clarity, and we are going to deliver where these higher education institutions have failed,” Ms. Stefanik said.

The sentiment was reiterated by Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), who said, “While no one else is standing up to lead during this pivotal moment in history, House Republicans will.”

After Mr. Johnson and other leaders concluded their remarks, the leaders of several congressional committees took to the podium to discuss how they would respond to the ongoing violence at universities across the United States.

‘Actions Have Consequences’

Committee on Education and Workforce chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) was the first to take the podium, during which she announced that she would compel leaders from Yale, the University of Michigan, and the University of California in Los Angeles to testify before her committee.

“No stone must go in turn while buildings are being defaced, campus greens are being captured, or graduations are being ruined,” Ms. Foxx said. “College is not a park for play acting juveniles or a battleground for radical activists. Everyone affiliated with these universities will receive a healthy dose of reality. Actions have consequences.”

Ms. Foxx was followed by House Energy and Commerce Committee chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.).

Ms. McMorris Rodgers noted that her panel “doles out massive amounts of taxpayer-funded research grants” to many of the universities currently rocked by the protests.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), which her committee oversees, has awarded many of these grants. Ms. McMorris Rodgers cited $682 million granted to Columbia University by the NIH, $409 million to Harvard, and $508 million to the University of Southern California.

Unless universities respond substantially to the protests, Ms. McMorris Rodgers suggested that this funding could be in trouble.

“We will be increasing our oversight of institutions that have received public funding and cracking down on those who are in violation of the Civil Rights Act,” she said.

“Imagine being a Jewish American, knowing that part of your hard-earned paycheck is going to fund an antisemitic professor’s research while they threatened students and actively indoctrinate and radicalize the next generation.”

House Judiciary Committee chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said that his panel would be probing the State Department over how many of those engaging in the protests are here on a student visa, and pushing Secretary of State Antony Blinken to consider revoking those visas for those engaging in violent conduct.

House Ways and Means Committee chairman Jason Smith (R-Mo.), meanwhile, cited the “generous, generous tax benefits” that these universities enjoy from the government.

“They have a responsibility to the American taxpayer to ensure that they are fulfilling their educational requirements as tax exempt organizations, as well as protecting students from intimidation, harassment, and violence,” Mr. Smith said.

“We will not stop until we get answers, until Jewish students can feel safe, and until these universities are held accountable,” Mr. Smith said.

House Oversight Committee chairman James Comer (R-Ky.), meanwhile, suggested that these protests “appear” to be funded by “global elites.” He vowed that his panel would investigate.

“The House Oversight Committee will follow the money trail, expose it to the American people, and seek to hold bad actors funding hate accountable,” Mr. Comer said.

The press conference comes as the House is also poised to consider Rep. Mike Lawler’s (R-N.Y.) Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, which would extend the protections of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to extend to Jewish students.

The legislation is likely to pass by an overwhelming bipartisan vote.

From The Epoch Times

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