Schneider refusing to co-sponsor bills with Republicans who deny Biden's victory
In his years on Capitol Hill, Democratic U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider of Deerfield has built a reputation as a lawmaker willing to work with any colleagues on good legislation, regardless of political party or other ideological differences.
Schneider, who represents the suburban 10th District, is making a stand and refusing to co-sponsor legislation or share leadership roles with Republicans who continue to deny Joe Biden fairly won the 2020 presidential election.
Schneider is targeting the 139 House Republicans who voted to overturn the election results the same day as the deadly assault on the Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump.
"These are people who just aren't coming to the table committed to upholding Democracy," Schneider said.
Schneider's stand has meant asking pointed questions to peers on the other side of the political aisle -- and if the answers aren't satisfactory, he's done with them.
That was the case with U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona, one of the 139.
Schneider and Gosar had been working together on legislation aimed at helping parents grieving over the loss of a child take time off work.
But he's cut Gosar loose, accusing him of being "at the forefront of the effort to undermine this election."
"Representatives who can't accept the election, who can't accept the legitimacy of the president ... are not committed to tackling the problems we face as a nation," Schneider said. "They're more committed to holding on to power at any cost. And that's where I draw the line."
Gosar's staff didn't respond to interview requests.
Schneider isn't the only Democrat shunning, shaming or otherwise punishing Republicans who denied the election results.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Sean Casten of Downers Grove forced a roll-call vote on a mundane proposal to rename a Mississippi post office in February rather than letting it go unchallenged because its sponsor, U.S. Rep. Trent Kelly, voted to overturn Biden's win. Casten voted against the proposal -- designed to honor a Vietnam War veteran held captive at the notorious Hoa Lo Prison -- but it ultimately was successful by a wide margin.
In a statement at the time, Casten said his willingness to collaborate "can only extend so far."
"The vote to overturn the election results in the midst of a violent insurrection was a bridge too far," said Casten, who represents Illinois' 6th District.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Cori Bush of Missouri introduced a resolution to investigate and possibly expel those who tried to overturn the election, claiming they violated their oath of office. It hasn't gained traction.
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York rebuffed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's support on a legislative issue in late January. Cruz had been one of the leaders of the movement to reject the Electoral College results and has faced scrutiny for his role in inspiring the insurrection at the Capitol.
"I am happy to work with Republicans on this issue where there's common ground, but you almost had me murdered 3 weeks ago so you can sit this one out," she tweeted to Cruz.
Still, not all of the Republicans who voted against certifying Biden's victory have found themselves on the outs with the Democratic majority.
Schneider continues to lead a congressional task force investigating the dangers of ethylene oxide emissions with Republican U.S. Rep. Jody Hice of Georgia even though Hice voted against certifying Biden's win. The hazardous chemical has been a concern for residents near factories in Gurnee and Waukegan, both in the 10th District.
Schneider said he personally confronted Hice and believes Hice was sincere when he said he now accepts the election's outcome.
"We're taking every case on its own," Schneider said.
When asked to comment, Hice said he and Schneider have had a positive working relationship for years despite not seeing eye to eye on many "hot-button" political issues.
"We put aside those differences to tackle common-sense, bipartisan solutions for real problems facing both of our constituencies," he said through a spokeswoman. "There's a tremendous amount of work we can accomplish when we move past the talking points and narratives to have real conversations with one another."
Schneider said his standard won't keep him from backing legislation put forth by lawmakers who voted against confirming Biden -- assuming the bills are good for constituents.
"I'm not going to cut off my nose to spite my face," Schneider said.
Casten is giving no quarter, telling NPR he won't vote for legislation "sponsored by anybody who gained their power through a democratic election and then voted to overturn our democracy."