House to vote Thursday on resolution to remove Rep. Omar from Foreign Affairs Committee

 February 2, 2023

The House of Representatives, under the leadership of Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), will likely hold a vote on Thursday to formally remove Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from the Foreign Affairs Committee, The Hill reported.

Officially, Omar will be considered for removal from the influential committee due to her past pattern of making anti-Israel and anti-Semitic comments, while unofficially, many view the move as retribution for the Democratic-led House's vindictive removal of Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Paul Gosar (R-AZ) from all of their respective committee assignments in 2021.

Resolution to remove Omar

On Wednesday, according to The Hill, the House unanimously approved the Democratic assignments to the Foreign Affairs Committee, including Rep. Omar, a necessary formality before she could then be removed from that committee.

That led to a party-line vote to advance a resolution to a final floor debate and vote that, if passed by a majority, would remove the Somali-born refugee turned Minnesota congresswoman from the powerful committee that helps set U.S. foreign policies.

The resolution, introduced by Jewish Rep. Max Miller (R-OH), highlights some of Omar's egregious past statements that were denounced by most Democrats and Republicans alike as harshly anti-Israel or grossly anti-Semitic.

"Whereas Representative Omar’s comments have brought dishonor to the House of Representatives: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the following named Member be, and is hereby, removed from the following standing committee of the House of Representatives: Committee on Foreign Affairs: Ms. Omar," the resolution states.

Former holdouts flip to "Yes"

Politico reported that the vote on Rep. Omar's removal from the Foreign Affairs Committee would be the first major test of the ability of the new Republican House majority to "whip" its members into supporting the measure, given that a handful of members had signaled they'd vote against removal and, with its slim majority of control, the GOP can only afford to lose up to four votes and still pass the bill.

The resolution was moved forward on Wednesday after two of those "No" votes, Reps. Ken Buck (R-CO) and Victoria Spartz (R-IN), reversed themselves and announced that they would vote "Yes" after "due process" language allowing committee removals to be appealed to the Ethics Committee was added to the measure.

Another holdout, Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC), similarly announced Thursday morning that she would vote "Yes" after she received a commitment from Speaker McCarthy to lead a "bipartisan effort to ensure committee removal isn’t politicized by either side in the future."

The only other known possible holdout is Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who explained on Monday in a Newsmax interview why he was undecided on whether to remove her or not but was open to being convinced either way.

Omar says effort to remove her is "dangerous"

Politico noted that Speaker McCarthy made it clear to reporters that this effort to remove Rep. Omar was different from the 2021 removals of Reps. Greene and Gosar in that Democrats had removed those two GOP members from all of their respective committee assignments while Omar would only be removed from the Foreign Affairs Committee.

"We’ve watched what she has done," McCarthy said Tuesday. "I just think she can serve on other committees. It would be best if the Democrats didn’t put her in the position of Foreign Affairs. If they do, she will not serve on Foreign Affairs. They can choose another committee for her."

Omar, of course, is none too pleased by the GOP measure to remove her from that committee, and said as much in a tweet Wednesday evening in response to a report that McCarthy had likely lined up the necessary votes to pass the removal resolution.

"This is a dangerous argument that members must reject. We can’t go down this road," she wrote. "No member of Congress should be removed from committee because of accusations of undermining a relationship with a foreign country. Members must maintain their independence on policy issues."

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