Republicans oust Rep. Ilhan Omar from Foreign Affairs Committee
House Republicans voted Thursday to oust Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., from the Foreign Affairs Committee — the latest skirmish in a long-running partisan battle over committee assignments.
Chairman Kevin McCarthy initially faced a handful of GOP defections, but on Thursday he and his team brought GOP members back in line, and 218 Republicans voted to support the resolution condemning Omar for his past anti-Semitic comments and removing her from the committee. A Republican, Rep. Dave Joyce, R-Ohio, a senior ethics committee member, voted in attendance.
The 211 Democrats united behind Omar, who gave a moving and defiant speech before the vote that left many of his colleagues in tears.
“There’s this idea that you’re suspect if you’re an immigrant, or if you’re from certain parts of the world or a certain skin color, or Muslim. It’s no coincidence that members of the Republican Party accused the first black president, Barack Obama, of being a secret Muslim,” Omar said.
“Well, I’m a Muslim,” she added. “I’m an immigrant, and oddly enough, from Africa. Is anyone surprised that I’m being targeted? Is anyone surprised that I’m somehow deemed unworthy to talk about the American foreign policy? Or that they see me as a powerful voice that needs to be silenced?
Last week, several Republicans voiced their opposition to the GOP taking action against Omar, threatening to derail the vote given their new wafer-thin majority.
But this week, those defectors started to line up. On Tuesday, Rep. Victoria Spartz, R-Ind., reversed her yes vote after meeting with McCarthy and securing language in the Omar resolution that would give lawmakers a chance to appeal the removal of committees.
Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., who was on the fence, said he would support the resolution. On Wednesday, Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., said he would change his vote to yes after speaking to McCarthy, saying the speaker seemed open to a proposed rule change that would make it harder to evict people. committee legislators.
Moments before the vote, Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina, the only GOP holdout, emerged from McCarthy’s office and announced that she would also be voting yes. Mace said she got a commitment from McCarthy to develop a better process for removing committee members.
“We have a process today to [censure]. We have a process today to expel members of Congress,” Mace told reporters. “We don’t have a process to remove members from their committee.”
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.