U.S. Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler
U.S. Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler (Campaign photo)

As expect­ed, the Unit­ed States House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives vot­ed today to hold Don­ald Trump’s pal Steve Ban­non in crim­i­nal con­tempt of Con­gress for attempt­ing to blow off a sub­poe­na recent­ly issued by the Select Com­mit­tee to Inves­ti­gate the Jan­u­ary 6th Attack on the Unit­ed States Capitol.

The Depart­ment of Jus­tice will now decide whether to pros­e­cute Ban­non, a deci­sion that Attor­ney Gen­er­al Mer­rick Gar­land says will be based on the law. Not pros­e­cut­ing Ban­non, of course, would set a ter­ri­ble prece­dent and would be at odds with the law, so there is only one course of action for the DOJ to take.

Just nine Repub­li­cans were among the two hun­dred and twen­ty-nine rep­re­sen­ta­tives who vot­ed to hold Ban­non in con­tempt, and one of them was the Pacif­ic North­west­’s own Jaime Her­rera Beutler.

Her­rera Beut­ler (R‑WA-3rd Dis­trict), as read­ers may recall, was among a sim­i­lar­ly small group of Repub­li­cans who vot­ed to impeach Trump for incit­ing the insur­rec­tion at ral­ly that pre­ced­ed the attack on the Capitol.

Her­rera Beut­ler has not, to our knowl­edge, com­ment­ed pub­licly on the vote yet. Her most recent posts on social net­works are about oth­er matters.

Her­rera Beut­ler was pre­vi­ous­ly joined in vot­ing for impeach­ment by fel­low Repub­li­can Dan New­house (R‑WA-4th Dis­trict) of Cen­tral Wash­ing­ton. How­ev­er, New­house has since switched back to hav­ing a pro-Trump stance, owing to his fear of los­ing reelec­tion, and he did not vote to hold Ban­non in con­tempt today.

The oth­er Repub­li­cans who vot­ed for con­tempt were:

  • Liz Cheney of Wyoming (a Select Com­mit­tee member)
  • Adam Kinzinger of Illi­nois (a Select Com­mit­tee member)
  • Antho­ny Gon­za­lez of Ohio
  • John Katko of New York
  • Nan­cy Mace of South Carolina
  • Bri­an Fitz­patrick of Pennsylvania
  • Fred Upton and Peter Mei­jer, both of Michigan

Asked why it was impor­tant that Repub­li­cans vote to hold Ban­non in con­tempt, House Speak­er Nan­cy Pelosi said: “Because they take an oath to pro­tect and defend the Con­sti­tu­tion of the Unit­ed States.”

“The genius of our Con­sti­tu­tion, and of our Founders, was the sep­a­ra­tion of pow­er – checks and bal­ances,” the Speak­er added. “If, in fact, you want to negate the abil­i­ty of one check of anoth­er branch of gov­ern­ment over anoth­er, then you are under­min­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion. So, this goes beyond Ban­non in terms of its impor­tance. And you would think that if they take an oath to pro­tect and defend the Con­sti­tu­tion, they would vote for that sys­tem of checks and balances.”

Sad­ly, most Repub­li­cans are more inter­est­ed in doing what Don­ald Trump wants than uphold­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion. Kevin McCarthy believes his future is tied to Trump’s, and is act­ing accord­ing­ly. So are most of his members.

Frus­trat­ed Democ­rats bemoaned that uncon­ceiv­able, inde­fen­si­ble posi­tion today in floor speech­es pri­or to the vote on find­ing Ban­non in contempt.

“We live in an age where appar­ent­ly some put fideli­ty to Don­ald Trump over fideli­ty to the Con­sti­tu­tion. I find that dis­gust­ing,” said Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jim McGov­ern of Mass­a­chu­setts. “He is so feared that my Repub­li­can col­leagues are going to keep deny­ing what hap­pened that day.”

But not all Repub­li­cans. Not quite. While Dan New­house has lost his back­bone, Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler has con­tin­ued to occa­sion­al­ly buck her par­ty. She did it again today know­ing that it will con­tin­ue to fuel efforts to defeat her next year by the Trump-aligned appa­ra­tus­es that now dom­i­nate Repub­li­can politics.

It’s tru­ly refresh­ing when a Repub­li­can like Her­rera Beut­ler votes with­out regard to their reelec­tion and instead votes based on the good of the country.

Thank you, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Her­rera Beut­ler, for help­ing make this vote bipar­ti­san and show­ing that at least one Repub­li­can from the Pacif­ic North­west believes that the Con­sti­tu­tion mat­ters and the truth about Jan­u­ary 6th matters.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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