House set to vote to keep Ilhan Omar off House Foreign Affairs Committee

The Minnesota Democrat said the argument against her was false.

February 2, 2023, 8:21 AM

The House will vote Thursday on a resolution to keep Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who has flipped multiple GOP votes in his favor this week, told reporters Wednesday evening the resolution will pass but stopped short of predicting all GOP members will vote in favor.

"We’ll have enough votes even though there’s some members who are out," McCarthy said.

The House Rules Committee voted along party lines on Tuesday night, 9-4, to advance a resolution to effectively block Omar from the panel -- by removing her once she is seated.

On Wednesday, the chamber voted to move forward with a vote on the resolution, which was introduced by Republican Rep. Max Miller of Ohio. It cites some of Omar's previous controversial statements to argue she doesn't have an "objective mindset."

Omar has since apologized for antisemitic remarks, including one suggesting that pro-Israel lobbyists were buying political support.

Miller insisted it wasn't about a "tit-for-tat," given that Democrats and some Republicans had removed two GOP lawmakers from committees in the last Congress.

Omar "attempted to undermine" the U.S. relationship with Israel and "disqualified" herself from the panel, Miller argued.

In response, Omar wrote on Twitter that "there is nothing objectively true in this resolution. It's all perceived and filled with pretext."

To the claim of a lack of objectivity, she wrote, "We vote our districts. ... This censorship really underscores their true intentions."

Democrats still need to formally submit a resolution outlining their members on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, which they have not yet done.

PHOTO: Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) speaks at a press conference on committee assignments for the 118th U.S. Congress, at the Capitol Building on Jan. 25, 2023 in Washington, DC.
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) speaks at a press conference on committee assignments for the 118th U.S. Congress, at the Capitol Building on Jan. 25, 2023 in Washington, DC.
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

McCarthy, who has repeatedly vowed to remove Omar and two other Democrats once his party retook power.

On Tuesday, a GOP holdout on removing Omar, Indiana Rep. Victoria Spartz, announced that she was now a yes on the issue.

"I appreciate Speaker McCarthy's willingness to address legitimate concerns and add due process language to our resolution. Deliberation and debate are vital for our institution, not top-down approaches," Spartz said in a statement.

She had said last week that she would oppose removing Omar: "Speaker McCarthy is taking unprecedented actions this Congress to deny some committee assignments to the Minority without proper due process."

Reps. Ken Buck, R-Colo., and Nancy Mace, R-S.C., had indicated that they would not support blocking Omar from the committee, though Buck has since said he is a yes after a productive meeting with McCarthy.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday, McCarthy provided details to reporters about his private conversations with Buck and Spartz.

“What I told him, and I had this conversation with Victoria too, we want due process. That we would work on process. I don’t know exactly what it’s like. … Just don’t want to pull something out of thin ... out of my head. I actually want to work with the Democrats on it, too, because I think it’s healthy for the institution,” McCarthy said.

Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz was undecided and Rep. Greg Steube, also R-Fla., is recovering from an accident.

Notably, the resolution states 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."

Some Democrats were quick to call out the process.

"The notion this resolution has any due process is simply bull****," the House Rules Committee's ranking member, Massachusetts Democrat Jim McGovern, said during an emergency meeting Tuesday night to consider the resolution.

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