WASHINGTON – Some 407 of the 435 members of the House, Democrats and Republicans alike, backed a resolution decrying anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry.
But 23 Republicans voted no on that resolution – and Rep. Chris Collins, a Clarence was one of them.
"After reading the final resolution I did not feel it was strong enough in support of Israel, the only true democracy in the Middle East, and that is why I voted no," Collins said in a brief statement on Friday, the day after the vote.
Collins' vote, not surprisingly, prompted a heated reaction from his critics, including Nate McMurray, the Grand Island Democrat who narrowly lost to Collins in the race for a House seat in New York's 27th congressional district last November.
On Twitter, McMurray dismissed Collins as a "RADICAL," adding: "We should be angry that he represents us."
The vote came on a resolution offered by House Democrats that aimed to move the party past controversial comments by Rep. Ilhan Omar, a first-term lawmaker from Minnesota. In recent weeks, Omar has said that support for Israel was "all about the Benjamins," and questioned whether Israel's supporters have in essence pledged "allegiance" to a foreign country.
The resolution at first spurred division among Democrats. The party's progressive wing, led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of the Bronx, argued that the measure should not single out anti-Semitism and instead should condemn all sorts of bigotry. After a heated meeting of House Democrats earlier this week, the party broadened the measure – and ended up winning the vote of every House Democrat except Rep. William Lacy Clay of Missouri, who did not vote.
House Republicans were expected to largely support the measure as well, and they did – but a surprising number did not. Rep. Steve King of Iowa voted present, while the others voting no on the resolution included Reps. Peter King and Lee Zeldin of Long Island, Rep. Louis Gohmert of Texas and House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney of Wyoming.
Cheney's move was unusual, in that party leaders in the House are expected to vote along with the majority of their party in almost all instances.
Those Republican defections from the resolution prompted Ocasio-Cortez to tweet: "Where’s the outrage over the 23 GOP members who voted NO on a resolution condemning bigotry today? Oh, there’s none?"
To which Cheney replied: "Here’s the outrage: your party put a sham resolution on the floor designed to protect the anti-Semitic hate and bigotry" of Omar.