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McCarthy finds way to kick Rep. Ilhan Omar off sensitive Foreign Affairs Committee

Rep. Ilhan Omar. (Glen Stubbe/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS)
February 01, 2023

House Republicans are preparing to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from the Foreign Affairs Committee as soon as this week, fulfilling a promise to kick Democrats out of key committee posts after securing a majority in the midterm election.

Three GOP holdouts and a number of absent members have been causing delays in the move to oust the progressive “Squad” member from the politically sensitive committee. After drafting a resolution Tuesday night that allows Omar to appeal her removal, the holdout Rep. Victoria Spatz (R-IN) flipped to support it, Axios reported.

Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA), the top House Republican under McCarthy, told Axios that Republicans have the votes for Omar’s removal. Republicans are planning to vote on the resolution as soon as Thursday, NBC News reported.

Two other Republicans who hadn’t committed to backing the resolution — Reps. Thomas Massie and Ken Buck — have also now committed to voting “yes,” NBC reported.

The resolution kicking Omar off the committee primarily cites “anti-Semitic” statements she made while criticizing Israel, as well as her description of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks as “some people did something.” She apologized for some of her statements on Israel in 2019, but in 2021 drew more ire for appearing to equate the U.S. with the Hamas and Taliban terrorist groups.

In a tweet Tuesday, Omar said “it is really pathetic” that McCarthy is “personally whipping votes” for her removal rather than focusing on “all the actual priorities a Speaker should be fighting to deal with.”

Committee assignments have often been used as political weapons in recent years. New House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has said his drive to boot Democrats from committees is partly retaliation for similar moves against Republicans under his Democratic predecessor, Nancy Pelosi.

McCarthy last week blocked California Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell from serving on the House Intelligence Committee. Schiff had been the committee’s chairman since 2019.