Reps. Andy Biggs and Paul Gosar of Arizona were among the 21 House Republicans who voted against a bill Tuesday to award congressional gold medals to Capitol and D.C. police officers for their courage during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
The bill passed with 406 votes in favor and 21 in opposition. All opposing votes were cast by conservative Republicans.
Neither Biggs’ nor Gosar’s offices immediately responded to a request for comment.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said the bill represented a bipartisan opportunity to honor law enforcement members who served the country on “one of the darkest days in the history of our democracy.”
“As we pass this legislation, we, as members of Congress, have a responsibility to do so (much) more than simply laud these officers (as) heroes,” she said. “We must respect them. We must support them with resources and funding. We must keep them safe. And we must ensure a January 6th attack can never happen again. That is about our respect for their service and our responsibility to honor their sacrifice.”
But some conservative House members disagreed with Pelosi’s interpretation.
In addition to voting against this bill, Biggs in March joined 11 other Republicans in voting against a similar bill to honor law-enforcement agencies with congressional gold medals for their bravery during the events of Jan. 6.
Biggs also requested a roll-call vote instead of a voice vote on that bill, angering some Democrats. Biggs claimed that the bill was politicized and that his vote against it was unrelated to his support for the police. That bill passed 413-12 and is pending in the Senate.
A leader of the House Freedom Caucus, a conservative group of House Republicans, Biggs has drawn criticism for his remarks that some say contributed to the Jan. 6 violence in which supporters of former President Donald Trump attempted to stop the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by breaking into the U.S. Capitol.
Campaign for Accountability, a government watchdog group, filed a request with the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate Biggs and Gosar, who has also faced similar accusations. Biggs denies that he did anything to incite the Jan. 6 violence.
But Biggs and Gosar have continued to publicly comment on the Jan. 6 riot, including on Twitter.
“Yet another hearing on the Jan 6th riots,” Biggs tweeted Tuesday afternoon in regard to a congressional committee hearing on the events. “These hearings are not in the pursuit of the truth. They are a continuation of the lies that we have heard from the Democrats. If you want to get the truth, stop lying.”
Gosar tweeted Tuesday that Brian Sicknick, a Capitol Police officer who engaged Jan. 6 rioters, was not killed by the rioters and instead died of natural causes. He called the claim that Sicknick was killed by rioters a “lie.”
“Truth: Videos show the officer was never struck with a fire extinguisher,” Gosar wrote on Twitter. “Medical examiner’s report found that he died on 1/7 from two strokes caused by arterial blood clots. No physical harm. Not a scratch.”
The Arizona Democratic Party decried Biggs’ and Gosar’s “no” votes.
“@RepAndyBiggsAZ and @RepGosar voted against honoring the US Capitol and DC police who bravely defended our Capitol on January 6th,” it tweeted Tuesday. “Shame on you.”
Biggs represents the Gilbert-based 5th Congressional District and Gosar represents the 4th Congressional District, which spans most of western Arizona.
Pelosi said Tuesday that the House of Representatives will move forward with investigating the Jan. 6 riot, although the final format of the investigations has yet to be determined after legislation to create an independent commission stalled in the Senate.
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