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GOP lawmakers introduce bills requesting Capitol Police officer to lie in honor



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On Thursday, two South Carolina Republican lawmakers in Congress introduced twin bills requesting that Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who died after sustaining injuries during the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol, lie in honor at the Capitol Rotunda, Fox News reported.

The Capitol Police said on January 7, when initially announcing Sicnick’s death, that authorities from a number of agencies were investigating his death as a homicide.

Hundreds of police officers and emergency response personnel lined the streets near the Capitol in the hours following the announcement of his death for a moment of silence honoring Sicknick, as video from WUSA9’s Mike Valerio depicted, per Fox News.

The bills that Sen. Tim Scott and Rep. Ralph Norman have introduced want to recognize Sicknick’s “courage and sacrifice,” the news outlet reported. Norman’s legislation calls for the creation of a memorial plaque in Sicknick’s honor close to the Capitol steps, covering funeral costs, and amending the U.S. Capitol Police Memorial Fund to include “amounts received in response to the attack on the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021.”

Austin Livingston, Norman’s communications director, told Fox News that the congressman has been spearheading the effort—working on the bill for the last couple of weeks—and was “honored” that Scott had agreed to introduce a version of the bill in the U.S. Senate, according the Fox News report.

Livingston mentioned that Norman had talked with Sicknick’s family over the phone to offer his condolences and “see if they had any needs that weren’t already being provided for.”

“Officer Brian Sicknick risked his life serving our country in uniform overseas, yet he ultimately gave his life defending our Capitol from threats here at home,” Scott told Fox News, according to the report. “His selfless heroism, and the bravery of all the officers who defended democracy that day, should be honored and remembered.”

“My prayers continue to be with Officer Sicknick’s loved ones and the family members of all our brave law enforcement officers,” the Palmetto State senator also said.

Following the news of Sicnick’s death, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) ordered flags at the Capitol to be lowered to half-staff to honor the fallen officer.

“The sacrifice of Officer Sicknick reminds us of our obligation to those we serve: to protect our country from all threats foreign and domestic,” she said in a January 8 statement. “May it be a comfort to Officer Sicknick’s family that so many mourn with and pray for them at this sad time.”

Joining Norman and Scott in calling for Sicknick to lie in state is the officer’s congressman, Democratic Rep. Don Beyer (Va.).

“Officer Brian Sicknick, my constituent, was 42 years old, a military veteran who served in the US Capitol Police for 12 years,” he tweeted January 8. “He made the ultimate sacrifice while protecting those trapped in the Capitol amid a violent assault on our democracy itself. He deserves to lie in state.”

Lying in state is typically reserved for former presidents and other high-ranking U.S. officials, The Hill pointed out on Thursday, the Fox News report mentioned. Back in 1998, two Capitol Police officers killed in the line of duty became the first private citizens to lie in honor in the Rotunda.

Sicknick was the youngest of three boys, born in South River, N.J. Sicknick served in the New Jersey National Guard and ultimately participated in Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Desert Shield, and with the 108th Air Refueling Wing out of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, according to Fox News.

Sicknick’s older brother, Ken Sicknick, called for the public and the press not to turn his death into a political issue, Fox News reported.

“Brian is a hero and that is what we would like people to remember,” he said.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Rep. Matt Gaetz Confronts Speaker McCarthy in Fiery House GOP Meeting



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In a closed-door House GOP conference meeting on Thursday morning, tensions flared as Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) confronted Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), accusing him and his allies of orchestrating an online campaign against him with the help of “MAGA influencers.”

According to reports from Fox News, the exchange was marked by what was described as “fireworks.” Gaetz directly addressed McCarthy, alleging that “MAGA influencers” had been paid to attack him on social media. McCarthy promptly denied the accusation, dismissing Gaetz’s claims.

Speaker McCarthy dismissed Gaetz’s allegations, indicating that he had no intention of engaging in such activities. In the same meeting, another source revealed that McCarthy questioned Gaetz’s commitment to the GOP’s goals, pointing out that he was personally dedicating his efforts to allocate $5 million to support GOP candidates and members with the aim of strengthening their majority in the near future. McCarthy’s remark seemed to challenge Gaetz regarding his contributions toward achieving a stronger Republican majority.

In response to Gaetz’s allegations, some members of the GOP caucus expressed frustration. According to a second source, one lawmaker told Gaetz to “f— off,” while another referred to him as a “scumbag,” according to reports.

Gaetz confirmed the confrontation to reporters as he exited the meeting, explaining, “I asked him whether or not he was paying those influencers to post negative things about me online.” He also confirmed McCarthy’s response, saying, “Yeah, that is what he said.”

When asked about his feelings toward McCarthy during and after the exchange, Gaetz remarked, “My blood pressure is like 120 over 80. So I’m feeling great.”

A spokesperson for Speaker McCarthy categorically denied any involvement in the alleged online campaign, attributing it to a Democrat-backed entity. In support of this claim, Fox News Digital reportedly obtained a screenshot of a cease-and-desist email sent by McCarthy’s outside lawyer to the individuals allegedly behind the campaign.

Furthermore, the email asserted that the campaign falsely claimed to act on behalf of Speaker McCarthy and his affiliated entities and warned of legal consequences if the actions continued.

The exchange in the House GOP meeting underscores the ongoing tension between Gaetz and McCarthy. Gaetz has been threatening to force a House-wide vote on McCarthy’s speakership, alleging violations of a deal struck to secure McCarthy’s election as Speaker in January.

Under the terms of that compromise, McCarthy agreed to allow any lawmaker to trigger a vote on his removal, known as a “motion to vacate.” While Gaetz had hinted at pursuing such a motion earlier in the week, he sidestepped questions on the matter during the recent meeting with reporters.

In the midst of this contentious atmosphere, Gaetz emphasized his current focus on advancing single-subject spending bills, deflecting inquiries regarding the motion to vacate and maintaining his dedication to legislative efforts.

The confrontation between Gaetz and McCarthy underscores the complex dynamics within the Republican caucus as it navigates internal divisions and confronts ongoing challenges on Capitol Hill.

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