The new House education committee, which is still taking shape, will soon include a freshman Republican whose past comments on school shootings have drawn calls from gun control groups for her resignation.
A Washington Post story on Jan. 22 highlighted how, in response to a 2018 comment on Facebook that recent school shootings weren’t real, now-U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene said, “That’s all true.” She expressed a similar sentiment about the 2018 shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Facebook in a separate comment that year that the social-media site later removed.
Several advocacy groups that support robust gun-control measures, including March For Our Lives-Parkland, Moms Demand Action, and Everytown for Gun Safety have called on Greene to resign in light of those comments, the Post reported.
Greene also has made national headlines for months due to her support for QAnon, the name used for a range of conspiracy theories that have been termed a domestic terrorist threat by the FBI.
In response to questions from Education Week about Rep. Greene’s education priorities and concerns about her past comments on school shootings, spokesman Nick Dyer did not address her comments on the shootings.
“Congresswoman Greene is excited to join the House Education and Labor Committee. Rep. Greene is ready to get to work to reopen every school in America, expand school choice, protect homeschooling, champion religious freedom for student and teachers, and prevent men and boys from unfairly competing with women and girls in sports,” Dyer said in an email.
Earlier this month, Greene announced her support for legislation that would require schools to prevent “biological males” from competing in women’s sports, in order to demonstrate compliance with federal Title IX law.
“I staunchly oppose biological males in girls/women’s sports, locker rooms, and bathrooms,” Greene said in a statement about the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act, which was introduced by Rep. Greg Steube, R-Fla. “This completely violates women’s rights in every way. Women’s sports should be women’s sports.”
In a memorandum released last year, the U.S. Department of Education under former education Secretary Betsy DeVos said that Title IX protections applied only to “biological sex” and that schools that declined to let transgender students participate in athletic activities matching their gender identity were in compliance with the law. However, the Biden administration has stated that Title IX protections cover transgender students.
The panel’s GOP membership is heavy on freshmen
With Democrats keeping a slim majority in the House despite Republican gains in the November election, the education committee in that chamber will continue to be led by Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., who took over as the panel’s chairman in 2019; Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., will continue to serve as the ranking member.
A relatively large share of the Republicans slated to join the committee are freshmen. In fact, out of 24 total GOP members due to join the committee, 11 just started their first terms in Congress; go here for the list of new members about to join the panel. (Republicans announced new appointments to the committee on Monday, but technically they won’t be official until the GOP conference and full House approves them.)
Another prominent GOP freshman on the list is Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., who spoke at Trump’s Jan. 6 rally in front of the White House shortly before a mob attacked the U.S. Capitol as lawmakers were voting to certify the presidential election results.
What all that means for the prospect of the committee advancing bipartisan legislation, and the tenor of public hearings, remains to be seen. The mob attack on the Capitol, and the objection of many Republican members of Congress to certifying the election results (both Cawthorn and Greene objected to certifying them) has created an unprecedented atmosphere in Congress. Meanwhile reopening schools and supporting students during the pandemic continue to be urgent national issues, and many are demanding that Washington do more on these fronts.
House Democrats have yet to announce their full committee roster; a committee spokesman indicated that it would be finalized soon.
This item has been corrected to accurately identify the name of the high school in Parkland, Fla.