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White House, Lawmakers React to Omar’s Removal From Foreign Affairs Committee

House a>=””>Republicans Rep. IlhanOmar (D.Minn.), was removed from the House Foreign Affairs Committee by a vote of 2 February. This decision was based on past comments that critics had called anti-Semitic.

The lower chamber approved the resolution Party lines were clear with 218 Republicans voting for Omar’s removal and 211 Democrats voting against it. One lawmaker voted present. Three Republicans, one Democrat and one other person did not vote.

Despite some pushback from GOP critics of the move, the measure easily overcame a procedural hurdle to begin debate in a 218–209 vote along party lines on Feb. 1.

Omar has been critical of the state in the past. IsraelOne of the most contentious issues in geopolitics today is how to treat Palestinian Christians and Muslims.

Omar responded to Glenn Greenwald’s tweet in 2019:

“GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy threatens punishment for [Omar] and [Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.)] over their criticisms of Israel,” This tweet is. “It’s stunning how much time US political leaders spend defending a foreign nation even if it means attacking free speech rights of Americans.”

Omar responded, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby.”

From Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (Republican from California) to Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer (Democracy) claimed that this was an antisemitic trope. Many lawmakers on both sides have previously claimed that criticizing Israel is antisemitism.

“Rep. Omar’s use of an anti-Semitic stereotype was offensive and irresponsible,” Schumer In a February 2019 tweet.

“This kind of intolerance has no place in Congress—or anywhere in American society,” He added. “No one should invoke anti-Semitic tropes during policy disagreements.”

Omar later regretted his comments.

McCarthy has repeatedly promised Omar that he would oust Omar from HFAC after he received the gavel. McCarthy has contended that Omar’s past comments about Israel make it a national security issue for her to serve on the committee.

After being elected to the U.S. Capitol on January 7, 2023, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R.Calif.), holds the gavel. (Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images).

Israel is commonly identified as America’s most important military ally in the Middle East, and the tiny nation receives billions of dollars in financial aid from the United States.

Democrats and the White House Respond

A reporter asked me about the resolution of the incident during the White House Daily Press Conference on February 2ndKarine Jean-Pierre, Press Secretary at Karine Jean-Pierre, called it “a disservice to the American people.”

“Omar is a highly respected member of Congress,” Jean-Pierre said. “She has apologized for her comments she made in the past … and has been vocal about condemning anti-Semitism, as well as affirming our strong alliance and important partnership with Israel.”

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Karine Jean-Pierre, White House Press Secretary, in Washington, Nov. 28, 2022. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Jean-Pierre called it the move to remove Omar from the HFAC “a political stunt.”

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D.N.Y.), also passionately opposed this move at a House Democrat Leadership Press Conference the same day.

“What’s going to take place on the floor today is not a public policy debate. It’s not about accountability,” Jeffries said. “It’s about political revenge.”

Democrats used a similar process as the one used against Omar to get rid of Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar from all their assigned committees during the 117th Congress.

paul gosar marjorie taylor greene
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., smiles at Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., during a news conference held at the U.S. Capitol Building (Washington) on December 7, 2021. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Democrats cited comments then-newly elected Greene had made about the Jan. 6 Capitol breach—comments that she had apologized for and disavowed prior to being sworn in as a lawmaker. Gosar This was removed After posting a video on social media, Democrats claimed that he had threatened violence.

Jeffries stated that these were qualitatively distinct cases.

“The line should be drawn when there are members of Congress who are actively threatening violence against colleagues,” Jeffries said, implying that Greene and Gosar’s social media posts implied a true threat to other members. “We take violent threats seriously because we’ve lived them.”

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Hakeem Jeffries, House Minority Leader (D-NY), answers questions at a press conference held at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Jan. 12, 2023. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Jeffries stated that the move would make it more difficult for Democrats and Republicans alike to work together in the future.

“This kind of poisonous, toxic double standard, it’s going to complicate the relationship moving forward with House Democrats,” He said.

Jeffries also reiterated support for Israel, which was confirmed by him. “shared values and shared strategic interests.”

Rep. StenyHoyer (D.Md.), the former Democrat majority leader, agreed on the House floor that Omar’s situation was different from that of Greene and Gosar.

“[Greene and Gosar] were not removed for their speech,” Hoyer stated. “They were removed because they made threats against other members [of Congress].”

“There is no equivalency here,” Hoyer also added. “We believe in free speech, no matter how hateful that speech is.”

Rep. Pramila Japal (D. Wash.), is the leader for the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Simply called the bill, Rep. Jayapal. “a revenge resolution.”

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., called it a distraction “from Republicans’ total inability to govern.”

Claims of discrimination

Unsurprisingly, many Democrats took the opportunity to claim that Omar’s removal was discriminatory.

In Comment on the House floor Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), opposed the removal. She stated that the bill was “targeting women of color.”

omar and aoc cortez
Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio Cortez attend a press conference at the US Capitol in Washington, February 7, 2019. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

She referred to the social media post which got Gosar fired during the last Congress.

A spoof of the anime is shown in the video “Attack on Titan,” Ocasio-Cortez was depicted as a Titan—a giant man-eating creature in the show—being “slain” Gosar. Gosar has been able to regain his assignments as a committee member since the Republicans took control.

“I had a member of the Republican caucus threaten my life and the Republican caucus rewarded him with one of the most prestigious committee assignments in this Congress,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), claimed that the removal was discriminatory.

“Being a smart outspoken black woman of the Muslim faith is apparently the issue,” Pocan.

Omar also echoed these words, calling herself “a Muslim woman from Africa. Is anyone surprised that I’m being targeted?”

“I am an American,” Omar said. “I am an American who was sent here by my constituents to represent them in Congress.”

‘This Is Not the Same’: Republicans

Scalise stated that Omar must be removed at the January 31 GOP leadership press conference. “is not the same [as what happened to Greene and Gosar]” There are many ways to do it.

“No. 1, they went after Marjorie Taylor Greene for things that she had said before she was a member of Congress, that she denounced before she was a member of Congress.”

“It was very personal when they removed her from every committee,” Scalise added.

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Steve Scalise (Republican-American House Leader) speaks in the House Chamber. (L) and Kevin McCarthy, (R-Calif.), talk in the House Chamber on the fourth day before elections for Speaker of Congress at the U.S. Capitol Building. The election took place in Washington on January 6, 2023. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Speaker McCarthy agreed during a press conference on Feb. 2, emphasizing that Greene’s removal was for comments she had said and disavowed prior to being sworn in.

McCarthy also dismissed Jeffries’ fiery comments during his own press conference earlier on Feb. 2.

McCarthy stated that he had followed all procedures to have Omar expelled from the HFAC.

Scalise stressed that Republicans don’t intend to go so far as Democrats by removing certain members of all their committees.

“Even if Omar were to be removed from the Foreign Affairs Committee, she will be allowed to serve on other committees,” Scalise said. “So a lot of big differences.”

He continued, “If Omar is concerned about being removed, probably be good if you would ask her why she voted to remove Marjorie Taylor Greene and Gosar from their committees, because she did vote to do that.”

Republican Critics Call For Foul

Many Republicans were critical of Omar’s decision to remove her assignments.

Omar reported that Omar told several Republicans before the vote that they had privately told her they didn’t like her effort to remove them. “unjust.”

“They are trying to do whatever it is that they can within their conference to make sure there is no vote to remove me from the Foreign Affairs Committee,” Omar said.

Rep. Victoria Spratz (R-Ind.) Victoria Spratz (R-Ind.) has been vocal in her criticism of the move. She called it a “shameful” move. “charade.”

“Two wrongs don’t make a right,” Spartz stated in a statement. “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.”

Separate StatementShe argued the same thing in her speech on the House floor.

“As someone who grew up under dictatorship in the Soviet Union, I cherish these freedoms tremendously and understand how hard is to get them back when you lose them. Therefore, regardless of politics, I will vigorously defend our Constitution and our rights,” Spratz said. “We are not a kangaroo court and have proper committees, like Ethics or Judiciary, to provide proper due processes to all individuals or we can lose credibility with the American people.

“I adamantly argued for proper due processes last Congress as a member of the Judiciary Committee, so I am not planning to become a hypocrite now.”

Spratz was not the only critic.

Rep. David Joyce (R-Ohio) Submitted The Washington Post last week that he thinks the committee assignments should be left to “the confines of each party” To figure it out.

He added that Democrats’ use of the process against Greene and Gosar during the last Congress “creates this retaliatory issue for our conference.”

Schiff and Swalwell

Omar is not alone Democrat whose committee assignments are uncertain.

Republicans also indicated that they will not grant Reps. Adam Schiff (D.Calif. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), seats on the Intelligence Committee.

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U.S. Rep. IlhanOmar (D–MN), (C), was joined by Rep. Eric Swalwell(D-CA) and Rep. Adam Schiff. They spoke at a conference on the committee assignments for Congress’s 118th Congress. It took place at the U.S. Capitol Building, Washington on Jan. 25, 2023. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Omar stated to reporters on February 1 that she was against the exclusion of Swalwell and Schiff from any committee.

“Unless McCarthy can say how myself, Adam Schiff, and Eric Swalwell are a danger to the institution, our colleagues, then he’s not following the example that was set by Speaker Pelosi,” Omar said.

Notably, during the 117th Congress, then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) took the unprecedented step of refusing then-House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s picks for the Jan. 6 Select Committee.

McCarthy had positioned Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind.), for the top spot on the committee. McCarthy had appointed Rep. Jim Banks (R.Ind.), as the top committee member and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, to serve below him. Pelosi turned down the picks, claiming they would harm the integrity and investigation. She instead chose former Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo. Former Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill.) was also appointed as the ranking member on both the GOP side and Pelosi.

The Intelligence Committee has the right to access classified intelligence information, unlike most House committees. This is in contrast to many other House committees. McCarthy stated that the Intelligence Committee was qualitatively distinct from any other House Commission.

McCarthy said that Swalwell and Schiff will not be allowed onto the committee for ethical reasons.

Schiff did so on a few occasions, especially during his time on House Jan. 6 panel. Evidence altered or doctored. This tampering was most prominently demonstrated in December 2021 when Schiff These screencaps were misunderstood A text conversation between Rep. Jim Jordan, (R-Ohio), and Mark Meadows, former Chief of Staff at the White House.

Schiff spoke out against the resolution against Omar during a speech to the House floor on February 2. He stated that Greene and Gosar were both removed from their respective committees. “inciting violence” Against members of Congress

“There is nothing like that at issue here,” Schiff stated.

Swalwell’s well-documented criminal history would make Swalwell a national security risk if he was allowed to join the committee. Past relationship with a Chinese spyMcCarthy said it.

“Speaker McCarthy has made clear where we are, whether it’s for Adam Schiff and Swalwell on Intelligence, as well as Omar for Foreign Affairs,” Scalise said on Jan. 31.

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