It sure looks like Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) will continue to serve on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The committee is a standing committee, which means the members who are placed on the committee are voted on and can be denied their spot if the votes are not there. With such a razor-thin majority in the House for Republicans, there is no room for dissent. Nonetheless, dissent there is and some Republicans are not willing to treat Omar as Nancy Pelosi treated some Republicans in the last Congressional session.
Turnabout is fair play, goes the saying. Ilhan Omar is a well-documented anti-Semite who has apologized in the past to avoid censure in the House but she hasn’t changed her behavior. In 2021, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Rep. Ilhan Omar were headed toward votes on censure resolutions in the House. Greene made inappropriate remarks about a mandate on the use of face masks in the House to the Holocaust. She had already been stripped of two committee assignments after social media posts showed her allegedly spreading dangerous and racist conspiracy theories. On the other side of the aisle, Omar was in hot water and facing censure over giving cover to terrorists when she appeared to equate the United States and Hamas with the Taliban.
Taylor Greene was kept off committees because Pelosi and other Democrats didn’t like what she said in social media posts. But, anti-Semitic language wasn’t so much of a problem for Democrats, at least not enough to censure Omar and/or keep her off the House Foreign Affairs Committee. She apologized and that was that.
It was an unprecedented move for Pelosi to remove members of the opposite party from a House committee. Democrats do this kind of thing and don’t seem to think it may bite them in the future when Republicans regain control of the House. McCarthy promised to not allow Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) to sit on the House Intelligence Committee and he promised to deny Omar a seat on the Foreign Affairs Committee. The Intel Committee is a special committee and he has the power to keep them off. Foreign Affairs is a standing committee and committee assignments are voted on. It looks like Omar will have enough votes to be on the committee.
The first Republican to speak out on voting against Omar was Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-IN). “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” She said it was wrong for Pelosi to do it and it was wrong for McCarthy to do it. Earlier this month, Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) said on CNN that she probably would not vote against Omar, either. On Friday, Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) on Friday joined in as a no-vote. In question is a vote by Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL), who is at home recovering from injuries he suffered while doing a home project. McCarthy ended the ability of House members to vote by proxy so Steube will likely miss the vote. That brings the no votes to four. Republicans only have a five-member majority. Democrats will remain united, you can bet on that.
Democrats, for their part, are likely to form a united front. “We are still doing the work but confident, all factions of the caucus are united against the attempt to remove her,” a Democratic leadership aide told Axios.
McCarthy will need to run the table with those Republicans who remain undecided, including Biden-supporting district Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) and David Valadao (R-Calif.) and Rep. Dave Joyce (R-Ohio), the chair of the moderate Republican Governance Group.
On a Sunday morning political show, Omar expressed confidence she will keep her seat on the committee.
Democrat Ilhan Omar expressed confidence that she’ll keep her seat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, saying allegations she is antisemitic are part of efforts by political foes to smear her.
“To insinuate that I knowingly said these things, when people have read into my comments to make it sound as if I have something against the Jewish communities, is so wrong,” Omar said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Democrats voted by unanimous consent during a closed-door meeting last week to allow Omar to remain on the committee despite accusations she used antisemitic tropes in past comments, for which she has apologized.
Omar said two Republicans have publicly said they will not remove her, while others have done so privately. To “smear someone and their character, and their love for their country and the work that they get to do on a committee, is wrong,” she said.
“I wasn’t aware of the fact that there are tropes about Jews and money,” she said.
On CNN, Omar accused Republicans of Islamophobia, because, of course, she did. Neither Schiff nor Swalwell is Muslim, though, so her accusation doesn’t hold water. The person who is an anti-Semite accuses Republicans of Islamophobia. Remember, Democrats always accuse Republicans of the behavior that they exhibit. Projection.
Omar appeared Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” alongside Reps. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., after McCarthy removed the latter two from the House Intelligence Committee, citing national security concerns.
Omar, who has apologized in the past for repeating antisemitic tropes, said Republicans are targeting her because she’s Muslim.
“It is politically motivated, and in some cases motivated by the fact that many of these members don’t believe a Muslim refugee, an African, should even be in Congress, let alone have the opportunity to serve on the Foreign Affairs Committee,” she said.
McCarthy has no wiggle room with this vote. We’ll see how it goes.