WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives voted Thursday to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota from the foreign affairs committee.
This was expected.
Republican Speaker McCarthy said removing her from this committee was a priority to his party for antisemitic comments she made in the past. Rep. Omar apologized for those comments.
The vote to remove Rep. Omar was along party lines and the debate showed how divided these parties are.
“This debate today is about who gets to be an American. What opinions do we get to have, have to have, to be counted as Americans,” Omar said from the House floor moments before the vote.
Omar's past remarks, deemed antisemitic by many, were what brought her to this fate Thursday, according to Republicans. Not about revenge from that party for the democrats moving to remove two from their party last term.
“This resolution is not about engaging in a tit-for-tat with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle,” Republican Rep. Max Miller of Ohio said.
“Both were removed because of threat they posed to three colleagues, not because of their speech because of their threat,” Rep. Steny Hoyer, Democrat of Maryland, said referring to the removal last term from committees of Reps. Marjorie Taylor Green and Paul Gosar.
They were voted off their committees for their threats to those three other House members.
But the heart of the argument Thursday was about Omar's past comments.
“This is not about vengeance or retribution, it’s about accountability,” Rep. Mike Lawler, Republican of New York said.
Two Jewish Democratic lawmakers spoke strongly in support of Omar.
“My colleagues, I stand before you as a proud Jew and a proud friend of colleague Ilhan Omar. I don't need any of you to defend me against antisemitism,” Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Democrat of Illinois said.
Rep. Dean Phillips, also Jewish, added, “So to my friends across the aisle, if you really are sincere about defeating antisemitism in America, how about ask us. Ask us what we need.”
Omar, in the end, was kept off the Foreign Affairs committee but not before she got to address the House herself.
“I will continue to speak up because representation matters. My leadership will not be diminished if I am not on this committee for one term. My voice will get louder and stronger,” Omar said.
Shortly after the vote, Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries said he will move quickly to place Omar on the House Budget Committee.
In a statement about her removal from Foreign Affairs Rep. Tom Emmer, Republican Majority Whip said in a statement: “There is no debate that Ilhan Omar, the face of antisemitism in the Democrat Party, has no place representing American interests on the Foreign Affairs Committee. Ms. Omar is an embarrassment to Minnesota and our country.”
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