A vote may come as early as today to determine whether or not Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) will be seated on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) told Axios that Republicans have the votes after Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-IN) agreed to vote in favor of the resolution.
Speaker McCarthy just may avoid an embarrassing defeat. With such a razor-thin Republican majority in the House, McCarthy’s ability to pass the resolution depends on his ability to keep Republicans united. The vote on the resolution to remove Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee ran into trouble when Rep. Victoria Spartz said she would not vote yes on the resolution because two wrongs don’t make a right. She didn’t approve of Pelosi’s behavior when she removed Republicans from committees over statements they made. Spartz also said she didn’t approve of McCarthy removing Democrats from committees.
Before Spartz announced her no vote, Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) said earlier this month that she probably won’t back a measure to oust Omar if it comes to the floor for a vote. Then Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL) took a scary fall off a ladder while doing a home project and will be home for several weeks recovering from his injuries. McCarthy ended proxy voting in the House which Pelosi put into effect during the pandemic and then just left it in place long past the time it was allegedly needed. So, if Steube isn’t in D.C. and able to vote in person, McCarthy can’t count on his vote.
On Monday, I wrote that Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) would vote no on the resolution. He wants a more kumbaya approach with both sides of the aisle working together. That sounds nice in theory but that isn’t the reality in the House. There is little hope of Democrats playing nice with Republicans no matter how much ground they cede to them.
With only a majority of five members, McCarthy would have to run the table to have enough votes to pass the resolution in this scenario. I thought it looked like Omar would be able to remain on the committee despite her hideous anti-Semitic remarks. That was yesterday. This is today.
Axios reported that the Rules Committee met Tuesday night to consider the resolution. It was scheduled for a vote in the House this week. The meeting came after Spartz said on Tuesday that language was added to the resolution that allows members to appeal their removals from committees. Scalise was certain that McCarthy had the votes needed to pass the resolution so Republicans can quit stalling in bringing the resolution to the floor for a vote. Spartz said, “I appreciate Speaker McCarthy’s willingness to address legitimate concerns and add due process language to our resolution.”
Do you think angry constituents back home in Indiana may have flooded her office with phone calls voicing their displeasure with her decision to vote no before she agreed to vote yes and that helped change her mind? Just a thought. She is rumored to be considering a Senate run to fill the seat now held by Senator Braun. He is not running for re-election because he is in the Indiana gubernatorial race.
One Democrat says not so fast.
The text of the resolution, introduced by Rep. Max Miller (R-Ohio) on Tuesday, says that “any Member reserves the right to bring a case before the Committee on Ethics as grounds for an appeal to the Speaker of the House for reconsideration of any committee removal decision.”
Miller told Axios that, under this process, the Ethics Committee — which is split evenly along party lines — would “take up the investigation and then make the ruling.”
Rep. Susan Wild (D-Pa.), the top Democrat on the Ethics Committee, said Republicans would have to change to create that process.
“They couldn’t just provide something by way of a resolution against Omar tomorrow that would include a change to the ethics rules,” she said. “I read the rules package, there’s nothing in there about that.”
Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) told Axios the language is aimed at addressing the concerns of multiple members who “wanted to make sure there was due process.”
Two Republicans may still be holdouts. Ken Buck said he is still a no because of his concern over the partisan tit-for-tat. Rep. Dave Joyce (R-OH) was undecided as of Tuesday. He wants Omar to be given due process and an “opportunity to defend her prior statements.”
We’ll see if the vote happens today and if McCarthy truly does have the votes.