GOP Rep. Spartz is a no vote on denying Omar seat on Foreign Affairs Committee

GOP Rep. Spartz is a no vote on denying Omar seat on Foreign Affairs Committee
House Television via AP

Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-IN) is going to vote no on the decision to deny Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar a seat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. She announced her opposition to Kevin McCarthy’s push to remove three Democrats from committees on Tuesday. It’s all about consistency for her. She said it was wrong for Pelosi to remove Republicans from committees and it is wrong for McCarthy to do the same.

“Two wrongs do not make a right. Speaker Pelosi took unprecedented actions last Congress to remove Reps. Greene and Gosar from their committees without proper due process. Speaker McCarthy is taking unprecedented actions this Congress to deny some committee assignments to the Minority without proper due process again,” Spartz said.

“As I spoke against it on the House floor two years ago, I will not support this charade again,” the congresswoman said.

Spartz isn’t the first Republican to mention she may vote against McCarthy denying seats to Democrats. Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) said on CNN earlier this month that she probably won’t back a measure to oust Omar if it comes to the floor for a vote.

Speaker McCarthy has the power to unilaterally block Schiff and Swalwell from serving on the House Intelligence Committee. It is a select committee and he seats members on the committee. However, the Foreign Affairs Committee members are chosen by each party and ratified by the full House. We know Democrats will oppose McCarthy because they haven’t been bothered enough by Omar’s antisemitism to hold her accountable.

Republicans have a razor-thin majority in the House and it will take only a few Republicans to block McCarthy from denying the Democrats their slots in the committees. House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries has selected Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell to sit on the House Intelligence Committee. Omar has officially requested a seat on the Foreign Affairs Committee. Jeffries said they are “eminently qualified.”

In a letter sent to McCarthy over the weekend, Jeffries wrote that Schiff — most recently the top Democrat on the intelligence panel — and Swalwell were both “eminently qualified” to continue to serve on the committee, despite McCarthy’s criticism of their conduct.

“It is my understanding that you intend to break with the longstanding House tradition of deference to the minority party Intelligence Committee recommendations and deny seats to Ranking Member Schiff and Representative Swalwell,” Jeffries wrote.

Jeffries wrote in his letter to McCarthy that “the denial of seats to duly elected Members of the House Democratic Caucus runs counter to the serious and sober mission of the Intelligence Committee.” Jeffries also wrote that embattled Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., is a “serial fraudster” who was seated on committees while Democrats could lose their seats.

“The apparent double standard risks undermining the spirit of bipartisan cooperation that is so desperately needed,” Jeffries wrote.

Note the irony in Jeffries’s letter to McCarthy. Pelosi already broke with the “longstanding House tradition of deference to the minority party” which is why this kerfuffle is happening now. What a hypocrite. Also, when has the House Intelligence Committee been “serious and sober” in its work? Certainly not in the last six years or so. Schiff milked his position on the Intel Committee for all it is worth, including frequent television appearances where he would routinely proclaim that he had proof of nefarious actions by Trump. He lied the whole time. There was no there there, as Joe Biden likes to say. If Jeffries is pointing at “serious fraudsters” he should begin with Adam Schiff.

McCarthy justifies what he plans to do as doing what he is supposed to do.

“What I am doing with the Intel Committee [is] bringing it back to the jurisdiction it’s supposed to do. Forward-looking to keep this country safe, keep the politics out of it,” McCarthy told reporters at a press conference earlier this month.

“So yes, I’m doing exactly what we’re supposed to do,” he said.

It’s not keeping politics out of it, though, is it? If he does what Pelosi did, it’s all the same. Pelosi was all politics all the time. She doesn’t make a move without doing political calculations. That is not a good thing in leadership. She completely alienated Republicans and so for Jeffries now to reference a spirit of bipartisan cooperation in the House is laughable. He was a top soldier for Pelosi and is every bit as political as is she. He’s not fooling anyone.

It may only take one more vote to stop McCarthy from not seating the Democrats. Rep.Greg Steube (R-FL) is out for several weeks as he recovers from a scary fall he took off a ladder as he was doing a project at his home. Republicans can afford to lose only two more of their members, in addition to Spartz and Mace, and still, deny Omar a seat on the committee. That number is only one more member if Steube is not in attendance.

We’ll see how the votes go when the time comes.

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