House Democratic Representative Stephanie Murphy of Florida told NBC News that Republicans need to be kept out of the majority to protect democracy and national security after the January 6 attack on the Capitol.
Rep. Murphy co-chairs the Blue Dog Coalition, which has reportedly “sought common ground rather than conflict with Republicans on issues like government funding, health care and immigration.”
Murphy seemed to shift her tone, however, questioning Republicans’ commitment to democracy, saying that the Republican party is increasingly defined by “conspiracy theories” over conservative policies. She “cited votes from a majority of House Republicans to block the counting of electoral votes in key states for President Joe Biden on the night of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, including most who defeated Blue Dog members.”
“It underscored for me that our political obligation is now a national security obligation,” Murphy told NBC News. “Imagine what would have happened had the Democrats not held the House, not been in the majority on Jan. 6 — where would we be today?”
Murphy is the first Vietnamese-American woman to serve in Congress, mentioning her family’s experience of fleeing a communist country when she was six months old. She also mentioned her background in national security when she worked at the Pentagon in speaking of the fragility of democratic institutions.
“The Democratic majority is not just about policies that we’re putting forward to help the American people. It is also about preserving our democracy,” she said. “They continue to create room for the conspiracy theorists. I don’t know how you make common sense policy and laws that can help the American people when you live in your own la-la land.”
Murphy wouldn’t say if she would pursue a run for the Senate in 2022 against Republican Senator Marco Rubio who is up for re-election. Instead, she said her focus is not on a potential Senate race.
“I’m really kind of focused right now on doing my job, serving my community,” Murphy said. “Of course, there will come a time where I hope I can you know share my experiences of winning in a district that very much mirrors the state more broadly. But this isn’t the moment. Right now, I’m really focused on trying to get the next Covid bill across the finish line.”
The Blue Dog Coalition reportedly includes many congressional members who Republicans believe they have the best shot at defeating in 2022. “Their survival could be decisive in the battle for House control as Democrats have a narrow majority and face historical headwinds in holding on to power in two years,” NBC reports.
Murphy said the way to avoid another democratic defeat like the 2010 election when Democrats lost 63 seats, is to “put points on the board” wherever possible.
“That means focusing on legislation that has the ability to pass the Senate and become law,” she said, adding a message to progressives: “Sometimes our passionate exuberance overwhelms our pragmatic approaches. We need to demonstrate to the American people we can govern and make their lives better. And sometimes that means making incremental change.”