House Republicans are set to move ahead with their plan to remove Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee even as House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is struggling to cobble together a majority for a floor vote on the matter.
On Tuesday, Rep. Max Miller, a freshman Jewish Republican from Ohio, introduced a resolution to kick Omar off the prestigious panel, citing her past comments against the American Israel Public Affairs Committee that were perceived as antisemitic and her repeated criticism of Israel. The resolution includes several Omar statements against Israel in 2021.
“Congresswoman Omar has attempted to undermine the relationship between the United States and Israel, one of the most important strategic alliances we have,” said Miller, the scion of a well-known Jewish family from Cleveland and a former aide in the Trump administration. “She has disqualified herself from serving on the Foreign Affairs Committee.”
Omar defended herself in an interview on Sunday, clarifying some of her past comments about Israel, and saying she was not aware at the time “that there are tropes about Jews and money.”
McCarthy’s bid to oust Omar has been met with resistance by House Democrats as well as some possible Republican defections. McCarthy has already blocked Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell from California from being assigned to the House Intelligence Committee. But the speaker does not have the power to remove a member of a standing committee on his own.
At least two Republicans — Reps. Ken Buck from Colorado and Nancy Mace from South Carolina — are opposed to the move, and Rep. Greg Steube from Florida is absent, recovering from a serious fall. Other Republicans have also indicated that their support is not guaranteed. Tim Burchett from Tennessee, David Valadao from California, David Joyce from Ohio, George Santos from New York and Matt Gaetz from Florida are all undecided.
Rep. Victoria Spartz, a Republican from Indiana who initially expressed her opposition to removing Omar, said on Tuesday she will support the resolution if it includes a “due process” provision that would allow Omar to appeal the decision to the House Ethics Committee.
In an effort to rally support, McCarthy has framed Omar’s removal in the context of her criticism of Israel and has accepted a move by Santos to recuse himself from his lower-level committee assignments to avoid distraction.
“Ilhan Omar’s openly antisemitic statements and stance directly imperil our alliance with our #1 ally in the Middle East: Israel,” McCarthy wrote in a series of fundraising emails on Tuesday.
House Majority Leader Steve Scalise told reporters Tuesday morning that Omar can only blame herself for the situation since she voted to remove Republican Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona from their committees in 2021. He added that in comparison to the move by House Democrats at the time, Republicans are not opposed to Omar serving on other committees.
“We have all seen the quotes and things that she said over and over and over again as a member of Congress,” Scalise said. “That would create major problems if she were on the foreign affairs committee.”
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