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House plans Wednesday vote to censure GOP Rep. Gosar, remove him from committees

ABC News logo ABC News 11/17/2021
© Tom Williams/AP, FILE

The House plans to vote Wednesday on a resolution that both censures Republican Rep. Paul Gosar and removes him from his committee assignments, a source familiar with the situation confirmed to ABC News.

Gosar last week tweeted an edited Japanese anime cartoon showing him stabbing President Joe Biden and killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. He later deleted the tweet.

On Tuesday, sources confirmed to ABC News that Gosar apologized for the tweet behind closed doors during a GOP conference meeting. Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy said he had also spoken privately with Gosar about the tweet, but it appears he did not take further action against him.

A spokesperson for McCarthy told ABC News that the Republican leader opposes the Democratic move to censure Gosar and remove him from his committee assignments.

Gosar said his video was an attempt by his staff to reach a younger audience and was not meant to condone violence. He has not publicly apologized.

MORE: Democrats move to censure Gosar over violent video attacking Biden, AOC

"I have never in 40 years seen such a vile, hateful, outrageous, dangerous, and inciting to violence against a colleague, ever," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said to reporters during a press call Tuesday.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer speaks during a news conference in Washington, Aug. 24, 2021. © Bloomberg via Getty Images, FILE House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer speaks during a news conference in Washington, Aug. 24, 2021.

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"The fact that they would not take some action themselves or make some comments themselves, which I have not seen, is a testament that perhaps they are rationalizing, as they rationalize other items of criminal behavior, this particular action," Hoyer said of Republicans.

The resolution would boot Gosar from the Oversight and Reform Committee, which he serves on alongside Ocasio-Cortez. It would also remove him from the Committee on Natural Resources.

Late Monday night, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters it was up to McCarthy to rein in and reprimand his conference members -- but Democrats, outraged over Gosar's behavior, insisted on a floor vote.

On Tuesday, Pelosi deemed the resolution as an appropriate measure.

"Why go after [Gosar]? Because he made threats, suggestions about harming a member of Congress...We cannot have members joking about murdering each other as well as threatening the president of the United States," Pelosi said.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks during the survey storm damage in Woodside, Queens area of New York, Sept. 6, 2021. © Anadolu Agency via Getty Images, FILE Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks during the survey storm damage in Woodside, Queens area of New York, Sept. 6, 2021.

A censure resolution requires a simple majority of lawmakers present and voting. If it is approved, Gosar could be forced to stand in the center of the House chamber as the resolution condemning his actions is read aloud.

MORE: Some Democrats call on McCarthy to resign after comment 'hard not to hit' Pelosi with speaker's gavel

On Tuesday evening, Gosar tweeted out a meme that says, "God gives his hardest battles to his strongest soldiers."

Twenty-three members of Congress have been censured for misconduct, according to a 2016 Congressional Research Service Report.

Former Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., was the last member of Congress to be censured -- in December 2010 -- accused of nearly a dozen ethics violations.

ABC News' Benjamin Siegel and Libby Cathey contributed to this report.

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