A House Republican attempt to remove Ilhan Omar from the foreign affairs committee, expected as soon as Wednesday, is about “vengeance” and “spite”, one of the Minnesotan’s fellow Democrats said.
“This is about vengeance. This is about spite. This is about politics,” said James McGovern of Massachusetts, the top Democrat on the rules committee, as Republicans called a hurried meeting late on Tuesday to consider the matter.
Republicans are targeting Omar, an African-born Black lawmaker, over comments she has made about Israel and as payback after Democrats kicked far-right Republicans off committees for incendiary and violent remarks. On Wednesday, the House voted 218-209 along party lines to move forward with a resolution to remove Omar from the committee. A final vote was expected later this week.
The new House speaker, Kevin McCarthy, has been eager to remove Omar after blocking two other Democrats, Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell, from the intelligence committee.
Omar, a Somali immigrant and one of the first female Muslims in Congress, has apologized for comments she has said she has come to understand were viewed as antisemitic.
McGovern argued that Democrats removed Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona for remarks far more extreme and violent against fellow lawmakers than those Omar made and apologized for.
The resolution against Omar was proposed by Max Miller of Ohio, a former Trump administration official. It says “Omar’s comments have brought dishonor to the House of Representatives”.
McCarthy has strained to ensure he has enough support to oust Omar. Republicans have a slim majority and several GOP lawmakers have been reluctant to engage in tit-for-tat retribution moves.
Party leaders moved ahead with the resolution against Omar after several holdouts signaled their support.
The action against Omar pushed ahead after the embattled New York Republican George Santos said he would step aside from his committee assignments as the House ethics committee investigates him. Santos has acknowledged embellishments about education and work experience and other aspects of his personal and professional life.
Several Republicans have been wary of taking action against Omar while having to answer questions about Santos.
After President Emmanuel Macron pushed his unpopular pension bill through Parliament without a vote, demonstrations about the changes broke out again.