WASHINGTON — House Republicans voted Thursday to oust Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minnesota) from the Foreign Affairs Committee.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy initially faced a handful of Republican defections, but by Thursday he and his team had backed Republicans, with 218 Republicans making past anti-Semitic comments. voted to support a resolution to denounce Omar and remove her from the committee.
One Republican, Ohio Republican Rep. Dave Joyce, a senior member of the Ethics Committee, cast an attendance vote.
All 211 Democrats rallied behind Omar, who delivered an emotional and defiant floor speech before the vote, bringing many of her colleagues to tears.
“There’s this idea that if you’re an immigrant, or you’re a certain part of the world or a certain color of skin, or a Muslim, you’re a suspect. No coincidence. President Barack Obama is a secret Muslim,” said Omar, a Somali refugee who made history as one of the first two Muslim American women elected to Congress. .
“Well, I am a Muslim,” she added. “Interestingly, I am an immigrant from Africa. Is anyone surprised that I am being targeted?” Is anyone surprised that it’s not considered worth talking about? Silence?”
Republicans defended their actions, claiming that the anti-Semitic trope Omar made years earlier disqualified her from engaging in foreign affairs. It enraged Democrats and Republicans, as well as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, when he tweeted that AIPAC and other Jewish donors were paying politicians to support Israel. Benjamin baby. ”
She was also criticized by fellow Democrats after she said she “identified the United States and Israel with Hamas and the Taliban.”
“Can someone who is unwelcome by our most important ally serve as a special envoy for American foreign policy on the Foreign Relations Committee?” Ohio Republican Rep. Max Miller, an aide, said. “And given her biased comments about Israel and Jews, how can she serve as an objective decision maker for the Commission?”
Others argued that Democrats took similar action two years ago when they voted to oust two Republicans from the committee over racist and violent social media posts, Then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi blocked two other Republicans from participating in the Select Committee on January 6.
These comments infuriated one of Omar’s closest allies, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.). Against Republicans.
“Consistency? Nothing matches the Republican party’s continued attacks, except for racism and incitement to violence against women of color in this body. I threatened your life, and the Republican caucus gave him one of the most prestigious commissions in this Congress.”
Very few votes were cast to dismiss Omar. Last week, several Republicans expressed opposition to Republicans taking action against Omar, threatening to derail the resolution given their new, very thin majority.
But this week, defectors started lining up. On Tuesday, her Rep. Victoria Spartz of R-Ind.
Rep. Thomas Massey, R-Ky., who was on the fence, said he supported the resolution. On Wednesday, Colorado Republican Rep. Ken Buck said he would change his vote to yes after talking to McCarthy, and the speaker said he was open to proposed rule changes that would make it harder to remove lawmakers from committees. said it appeared to be.
Shortly before the vote, Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina, the sole Republican supporter, emerged from McCarthy’s office and announced that she would also vote in favor. He said he got a promise from Mr. McCarthy to develop a better process for
“Today we have a process [censure]There is a process today to expel members from Congress,” Mace told reporters. “There is no process for removing members from the committee.”
After the vote, McCarthy told reporters he would appoint minority leader Hakeem Jeffries (DN.Y.) and members of both parties to a working group to develop a proposal detailing the reasons for dismissing lawmakers. He said he had just talked about it. From the committee and the process for doing it. McCarthy said he would appoint Mace and Buck.
“From now on, every member of parliament will be responsible for how they act, and it is our responsibility to let them know what that is,” said the speaker. .
“So I’m going to bring in a group of Democrats and a group of Republicans that Hakeem chooses to work to clarify the rules and get something passed, not just in this Congress but in future Congresses.”
McCarthy argued that the House action would not be a “tit back” for Democrats.
But Omar’s dismissal is just the latest example of how committee quotas have been used by both parties to punish lawmakers for crossing the line over the past two years.
In February 2021, House Democrats and 11 Republicans removed far-right activists from two committees for past social media posts spreading racist and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and threatening violence. It started when I voted to remove Rep. Jolie Taylor-Green (R-G.) from office. Pelosi and Obama.
Months later, Democrats denounced Gosar and ousted him from his two committees after he tweeted an animated video depicting him killing Ocasio-Cortez and attacking President Joe Biden. I also moved to do it.
That same year, Pelosi unilaterally blocked two nominations for McCarthy — Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio Republican) and Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind). — From the Task Force Investigating the January 6th Capitol Attack. McCarthy and the Republicans then boycotted the task force.
At the time, Republicans warned that Democrats would regret those decisions. When Republicans regained control of the House this year, they quickly put Greene and Gosser back on the committee.
McCarthy then blocked two people appointed to the Intelligence Committee by minority leader Hakeem Jeffries. Former Commission Chair Adam Schiff and Congressman Eric Swalwell, both California Democrats who played key roles in Trump’s impeachment process.
And on Thursday, McCarthy made good on a promise to remove Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee as well.
“Rep. Omar certainly made a mistake. She used an anti-Semitic trope that was clearly and unequivocally condemned by House Democrats four years ago,” Jeffries told reporters. rice field.
But he called Thursday’s vote “not about public policy debate, not about accountability, but about political retribution.”