House votes to condemn socialism, Democrats split on support

February 4, 2023

The House voted Thursday on a resolution to denounce socialism, drawing bipartisan support from some, but not all, Democrats. 

The resolution passed 328-86, with 14 lawmakers voting "present."

The three-page declaration states that “socialist ideology necessitates a concentration of power that has time and time again collapsed into Communist regimes, totalitarian rule, and brutal dictatorships.”

“Many of the greatest crimes in history were committed by socialist ideologues,” it said, specifically mentioning Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, Fidel Castro, Pol Pot, Kim Jong Il, Kim Jong Un, Daniel Ortega, Hugo Chavez and Nicolás Maduro and listing atrocities committed under socialist regimes.

"Bold statement"

“Congress denounces socialism in all its forms, and opposes the implementation of socialist policies in the United States of America,” it reads.

Florida Rep. María Elvira Salazar (R), a sponsor of the resolution, said that passing it “would make a bold statement that the People’s House unequivocally denounces this cruel and unjust ideology.”

“It would also ensure the United States commits to never begin or normalize the implementation of socialist policies that inevitably lead to economic ruin and political authoritarianism,” her office said in a statement.

Some of the Democrats who voted against the resolution worried that it could be used to change or dismantle Social Security or Medicare. An amendment to exclude these programs from the resolution and prevent such an interpretation was rejected during the floor debate.

While a few Republicans looking to cut spending have mentioned including entitlements in those cuts, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said cuts to those programs would be "off the table."

Some Democrats support socialism

Others who voted against the resolution are identified as Democratic socialists, including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY),  Cori Bush (MO), and Rashida Tlaib (MN).

All of these and others have pushed for more socialist policies, including free college and student loan forgiveness, open borders, and other big government policies.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) voted for the resolution but said that Republicans "election deniers" were not being consistent about their support for democracy.

Rep. Theresa Leger Fernandez (D-MN) voted present, saying that while she denounced socialism, she thought the chamber could be spending its time on more important things.

It is unclear how Republicans will seek to use the resolution going forward, but it's good to get everyone's cards on the table at the outset so the party knows where it will need to focus much of its attention.

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