House Republicans quash measures to censure Romney and recall U.S. Senators

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Utah House leaders Tuesday put the kibosh on a proposal to censure Sen. Mitt Romney for voting to convict President Donald Trump last week. A bill to create a mechanism for recalling U.S. Senators is also dead after a closed meeting of House Republicans. 

Multiple House sources say there is still talk of House Speaker Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, and Senate President Stuart Adams, R-Layton, sending a letter to President Trump to thank him for what he’s done for the state in the wake of Romney’s vote. But, the more draconian measures that are seen as a punishment for Romney have been squashed.

Rep. Phil Lyman, R-Blanding, has proposed a resolution censuring Romney for his vote. Rep. Tim Quinn, R-Heber, is sponsoring legislation to allow voters to recall a sitting U.S. Senator. Quinn says his bill was not targeted at Romney, but to find a remedy for the 17th Amendment which provided for the direct election of U.S. Senators. As first reported, legislative lawyers warned that Quinn’s bill was likely unconstitutional.

Both of those proposals are now dead for the 2020 session.

Sources who were inside the closed-door meeting tell that both ideas fell flat, and it was abundantly clear that the majority caucus is ready to move on from the controversy surrounding Romney.

“House leadership did a really good job trying to balance the need of rural legislators who wanted to do something and swing district legislators that just want the issue to go away,” said one source who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Last Tuesday Romney became the first U.S. Senator in history to vote to remove a president from the same party from office. Romney voted with Democrats to convict President Trump of abuse of power in the Senate impeachment trial that wrapped up last week. 

Monday, group of Republicans on the GOP State Central Committee proposed a resolution to censure Romney and demand he supports President Trump or resign from office.