Some House Republicans express opposition to Speaker McCarthy's plan to remove Dem Rep. Omar from Foreign Affairs Committee

 January 25, 2023

In an admitted tit-for-tat response to former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-CA) vindictive removal of two Republican members from their committee assignments last term, new Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has moved to return the favor with the removal of three Democratic members from certain important committees.

One of those targeted for removal by McCarthy is Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), but the Republican leader is now perplexed to find out that not every member of his own caucus supports such action, the Washington Examiner reported.

In fact, multiple House Republicans have now gone on record as being opposed to McCarthy's stated plan to remove Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee due to her history of making comments widely regarded by many Republicans and Democrats as anti-Israel and anti-Semitic.

On Tuesday, in response to the growing opposition from his own side of the aisle, McCarthy told reporters, "It would be odd to me that members would not support that based upon her comments against Israel."

"I will not support this charade again"

One of the House Republicans most vocally opposed to Speaker McCarthy's plan to hold a floor vote on the removal of Rep. Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee is Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-IN), who is also opposed to his efforts to unilaterally remove both Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Eric Swalwell (D-CA) from the House Intelligence Committee.

"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," Spartz said in a statement Tuesday. "Speaker McCarthy is taking unprecedented actions this Congress to deny some committee assignments to the Minority without proper due process again."

"As I spoke against it on the House floor two years ago, I will not support this charade again," the Indiana congresswoman added. "Speaker McCarthy needs to stop 'bread and circuses' in Congress and start governing for a change."

Planned retribution is "inappropriate"

Rep. Spartz, who had initially been among the group of House Republicans who opposed McCarthy's speakership bid earlier this month, is not alone in opposing the plan to remove Rep. Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee, according to Axios.

Rather, she joins Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC), who told the outlet in December, "I’m not going to support it," along with Rep. David Valadao (R-CA), who also told the outlet, "I’ve never been a fan of that. Members are elected by their districts. ... To throw them off just seems inappropriate."

More recently, Rep. David Joyce (R-OH) told Axios that, prior to a vote on her removal, Omar "should at least be given the opportunity to defend her prior statements" in a floor speech, and added, "I haven't taken a position on it because I haven't seen a case against her, but I think she's entitled to due process and she should be able to make her case on why she shouldn't be."

The outlet noted that while McCarthy has the prerogative as House speaker to unilaterally remove Schiff and Swalwell from the "select" intelligence committee, he will need majority support from the entire House to remove Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee, and given his slim margin of majority control, he can't afford to lose more than a few GOP defectors for that to actually occur.

A "terribly corrosive" move

Newsweek reported that Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) has also voiced his opposition to Speaker McCarthy's "corrosive" efforts to engage in retribution against Democrats in response to former Speaker Pelosi's actions in 2021 to remove Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Paul Gosar (R-AZ) from their respective committee assignments

In a statement to a CNN reporter, Bacon said, "I think at some point, if I was speaker, I would go over to [House Minority Leader] Hakeem Jeffries. Say 'OK, we're done. Are you going to be done?' Should we promise to never do this again, because I think it's terribly corrosive to the rapport, just the relations in the House."

Bacon's critique appears to have had little effect, however, as McCarthy on Tuesday publicly posted a letter he sent to Leader Jeffries (D-NY) to inform him that he had formally rejected the appointments of both Schiff and Swalwell to the House Intelligence Committee.

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