House members will vote on a proposal to defund Ilhan Omar’s membership on the Foreign Affairs Committee.
House members will vote on a proposal to defund Ilhan Omar’s membership on the Foreign Affairs Committee. A motion to remove Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar from the influential House Foreign Affairs Committee is scheduled to be voted on by the Republican-led House of Representatives on Thursday.
The move comes after Democratic Representatives Eric Swalwell and Adam Schiff, the former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, were officially refused seats on the committee by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
After Democrats removed Republican Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona from committees for violent rhetoric and posts while in the majority, McCarthy vowed last year that he would do the same to Schiff, Swalwell, and Omar if the Republicans regained the House majority.
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Since Republicans control the House, they’ve appointed Greene and Gosar to committees.
Democrats in Congress have responded angrily to the decision to remove Schiff, Swalwell, and Omar from committees, saying it appears to be an attempt at political payback and that Greene and Gosar’s behavior warranted a significant censure.
Hakeem Jeffries, the leader of the Democrats in the House, said on Thursday that Republicans were engaging in “political revenge.”
He backed the Democrats’ decision to remove Republicans from committee assignments in the last Congress, saying that the GOP incited violence against Democrats.
Jeffries said, “We take violent threats seriously because we’ve lived them,” adding, “The line should be drawn when there are members of Congress who are openly threatening violence against colleagues.”
House Republicans have maintained that Omar should not serve on the Foreign Affairs Committee because of the controversial and, in some cases, antisemitic comments she has made toward Israel.
After receiving criticism for widely panned tweets, Omar offered a public apology in 2019. The Democratic senator from Minnesota apologized after receiving significant backlash for implying that the Republican Party’s support for Israel is funded by contributions to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
Further incidents include: Some Jewish Democrats in the House of Representatives accused Omar in 2021 of comparing the United States and Israel with the Taliban and Hamas, a Palestinian militant group the United States has blacklisted as a terrorist organization. Omar defended herself by saying she “absolutely not associating terrorist organizations with democratic countries.”
Both Republicans and Democrats have been critical of Greene and Gosar, who will both be joining committees. Both congressmen were criticized by Republican leaders in Congress last year for addressing a White supremacist gathering.
The far-right activist Nick Fuentes created the America First Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, where Greene gave a speech. HuffPost reported that Gosar made a videotaped appearance at the America First Political Action Conference. The previous year, Gosar was present at the same meeting.
Greene issued a lengthy statement defending her participation, in which she called the criticism “false divisions and deceitful claims” and vowed not to “delete” other conservatives despite her distaste for their “tasteless, foolish, or even repugnant” views.
According to CNN KFile’s investigation of Gosar’s past activities and social media posts, the congressman has maintained ties with White nationalists, a pro-Nazi blogger, and other members of the extreme right. In response to the reporting, a representative for Gosar declined to answer questions regarding the congressman’s close friends and family.
After visiting the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, in 2021, Greene publicly apologized for her “offensive” comments comparing the mask-wearing prohibitions on Capitol Hill to the Holocaust.
Omar, Schiff, and Swalwell have spoken out in response to McCarthy’s attempt to remove them from committee membership.
At a recent press conference, Omar and Representatives Schiff and Swalwell said, “Kevin McCarthy’s solely partisan moves to pull us from our committee is not only a political stunt but also a blow to the integrity of our democratic institution and threat to our national security.”
Democrats had also pointed to the fact that troubled Republican Rep. George Santos, who is facing escalating legal troubles and growing calls for him to quit for substantially lying about his resume and identity, had been handed seats on two committees as evidence that the action was hypocritical.
Three members of the House GOP told CNN that Santos made a sudden about-face on Tuesday, telling the conference behind closed doors that he wants to step down from his two committees until his problems are resolved.
Since the House Intelligence Committee is a select committee, McCarthy can prevent Schiff and Swalwell from joining on his own. However, the House of Representatives would have to vote to remove Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
On Tuesday night, McCarthy told CNN he had the votes to remove Omar from office. Several Republicans within the House of Representatives had previously voiced their opposition to the motion, prompting Republican leaders to seek to secure the necessary votes before making their claim.
On Tuesday, Indiana Republican Representative Victoria Spartz said she would vote in favor of a resolution to remove Representative Ilhan Omar from office, noting the inclusion of “due process language.”
I applaud Speaker McCarthy’s willingness to add due process language to our resolution in response to valid concerns. The lawmaker added, “deliberation and debate are necessary for our institution, not top-down approaches.”
Spartz had already signaled her opposition to the movement to expel the three Democratic legislators from committees.
Spartz released a statement last week that stated that Democrats had removed Greene and Gosar from their respective committees. “If you make a mistake, don’t make it twice. In the previous Congress, Speaker Pelosi used unprecedented measures to remove Representatives Greene and Gosar from their respective committees. The lawmaker claimed Speaker McCarthy was “taking unprecedented moves this Congress to deny some committee assignments to the Minority without proper due process again.”
Following the revelation of Greene’s incendiary and violent past statements, the Democratic-controlled House voted in 2021 to remove her from committee assignments. This followed a report from CNN’s KFile that Greene had expressed support for the execution of prominent Democratic politicians on multiple occasions in 2018 and 2019. Eleven Republican House members voted with Democrats to approve this action.
After Arizona Republican Paul Gosar posted a doctored anime video to social media in which he appeared to murder Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and insult President Joe Biden, the Democrat-led House voted to reprimand him and remove him from committee assignments. When the House voted on the resolution, two Republican lawmakers joined with Democrats to support its passage.