WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar scorned Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Wednesday as the GOP’s bid to remove her from the House Foreign Affairs Committee nears a critical point.
McCarthy, who narrowly won the presidency earlier this month, has long promised to keep Omar from one of his prized committee positions. He maintained that threat after Republicans won the House, citing in a tweet “his repeated anti-Semitic and anti-American remarks.”
Omar isn’t the only one targeted by McCarthy. The speaker followed through on another promise when he tweeted On Tuesday, he rejected the Democrats’ attempt to keep California Representatives Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell on the House Intelligence Committee.
At a press conference Wednesday alongside Schiff and Swalwell, Omar said McCarthy was seeking revenge and trying to appease former President Donald Trump.
“Kevin McCarthy’s purely partisan decision to remove us from our committee is not only a political blow, but also a blow to the integrity of our democratic institution and a threat to our national security,” Omar said.
But keeping Omar off the Foreign Affairs panel is a different logistical hurdle that should require a full House vote.
“I believe when and if this vote takes place, it will be a moment of clarity,” Omar said. “And I hope a lot of these Republicans will realize and not prove to their constituents and to the American people what partisan hacks they are, how hypocritical they are, and how shameful they are.”
Omar also told reporters she didn’t know if a vote against her would pass or fail at this stage. She served on the Foreign Affairs Committee during her first two terms when Democrats controlled the House.
In 2021, Democrats successfully staged bipartisan votes to remove two far-right Republicans from committees.
The action was taken against Georgia Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene after Democrats highlighted her violent rhetoric and embrace of conspiracy theories. Months later, Arizona GOP Rep. Paul Gosar lost his committee assignments after an animated video of him killing Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with a sword was posted on his social media.
Both Greene and Gosar have received committee assignments now that Republicans rule the House. Still, with tight GOP control over the chamber, Republicans can only spare a small number of votes if they want to remove Omar from the foreign affairs panel. And some reluctance is already manifesting itself.
“Two wrongs don’t make a right. Speaker Pelosi took unprecedented action in the last Congress to remove Representatives Greene and Gosar from their committees without due process,” Indiana Republican Representative Victoria Spartz said in a statement. communicated. “Speaker McCarthy is taking unprecedented action in this Congress to again deny certain minority committee assignments without due process. As I spoke against this in the House two years ago, I will no longer support this masquerade.”
CBS News reported that South Carolina Republican Rep. Nancy Mace also signaled potential opposition to taking Omar’s place on the committee.
At a press conference Wednesday, GOP Majority Leader Steve Scalise did not directly answer the question of whether the GOP had the votes to exclude Omar from the panel.
“We have no intention of having them sit on these committees,” Scalise said after talking about the three targeted Democrats.
Democratic leaders have remained loyal to Omar and his Californian counterparts.
“The Democratic caucus is fine with Rep. Omar to be on this committee,” Democratic caucus chair Rep. Pete Aguilar told reporters.
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