Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), expected to be the next Speaker of the House, vowed on Saturday to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from her seat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee over “her repeated anti-semitic and anti-American remarks.”
When McCarthy mentioned the congresswoman’s name during a speech at the Republican Jewish Coalition meeting over the weekend in Las Vegas, a boo rose from the audience.
“That’s a rightful boo,” he said, laughing. “I remember what she said about me. I remember what she said about Israel. I remember what she said about the relationship. I remember it so much, I promised you last year that as Speaker, she no longer would be on Foreign Affairs, and I’m keeping that promise.”
Omar, a member of the progressive “Squad,” has taken heat multiple times for anti-Semitic remarks and criticism of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. She apologized in 2019 after saying McCarthy’s support for Israel was “all about the Benjamins,” which some interpreted as riffing on anti-Semitic tropes.
“Standing committees” like House Foreign Affairs are important because their members shape laws and investigations on particular topics. House Foreign Affairs oversees foreign policy, aid to other countries and other matters of international significance.
In the wake of Republicans clinching control of the House in the midterm election, McCarthy also said he would “not allow” his fellow California Reps. Eric Swalwell and Adam Schiff to continue serving on the House Intelligence Committee, Axios reported.
However, a crowdsourced fact check on McCarthy’s tweet of the speech indicated he can’t unilaterally remove Omar from the committee. Instead, her removal would require a majority vote of the entire House.
Members of standing committees have left their posts under political pressure, but have not been removed on the Speaker’s whim, according to LegBranch.org.
And while the GOP has nominated McCarthy to be the next House Speaker, he remains to be confirmed by a full House vote when it reconvenes in January.