House Republicans vote Rep. Ilhan Omar off Foreign Affairs Committee
Published in News & Features
WASHINGTON — House Republicans narrowly voted Thursday to oust Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota from the Foreign Affairs Committee, a move that follows Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s removal of Reps. Adam B. Schiff and Eric Swalwell from the Intelligence Committee last month.
McCarthy, R-Calif., had the unilateral authority to keep Schiff and Swalwell, both California Democrats, off the intelligence panel, which is a “select” committee. But a majority floor vote was required to boot Omar from foreign affairs.
The resolution passed Thursday afternoon in a 218-211 party-line vote, with one member, Republican Rep. David Joyce of Ohio, voting present.
Omar, a Black Muslim, said she was targeted because of her race and religion. She insisted she will not be silenced.
“I didn’t come to Congress to be silent,” she said. “I came to be their voice, and my leadership and voice will not be diminished if I am not on this committee for one term.”
McCarthy said Omar was removed for antisemitic comments she made in 2019 and other controversial foreign policy statements she’s made as a member of Congress. Democratic leaders also condemned her remarks at the time, but took no action against her after she apologized.
In a news conference after the vote, McCarthy noted that Omar, Schiff and Swalwell weren’t removed from all of their committees like some of his Republican colleagues were in the last Congress, and he pushed back on the notion that Thursday’s resolution was a “tit for tat” with House Democrats.
“We’re not removing her from other committees,” McCarthy said. “We just do not believe when it comes to foreign affairs, especially the responsibility of that position around the world with the comments that you make — she shouldn’t serve there.”
Omar’s removal completes McCarthy’s pledge to kick all three Democrats off their top panels after the Democratic majority held bipartisan votes in the last Congress to remove Republican Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona from their committees for appearing to incite violence.
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., told reporters Thursday that the vote was an act of political revenge.
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