House Votes to Remove Omar from Committee

February 2, 2023

The House of Representatives Thursday voted to pass a resolution to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from the Foreign Affairs Committee.

The vote was 218 to 211 along party lines. Rep. David Joyce (R-OH) voted “present.”

Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-IN), who had said last week that she would not support ousting Omar from the committee, switched positions on Tuesday after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (D-CA) and other Republicans agreed to include language in the resolution to remove Omar that would allow for an appeal of the decision to House Ethics.

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) had also previously voiced opposition to ousting Omar, but on Thursday she told reporters she had changed her vote to yes for the same reason as Spartz—the creation of an appeals process to be handled by the Ethics Committee in the next 30 days.

Omar had first come under fire and was accused of antisemitism in 2019 when she posted tweets that cited tropes about Jewish wealth and influence in U.S. politics. She soon after criticized pro-Israel lobbying in the U.S. as well.

Omar shortly afterward apologized, saying she was “listening and learning” about “the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes.”

On Thursday, after the vote to oust her from the Foreign Affairs Committee, Omar—the only African-born member of Congress, as she is of Somali descent—was defiant, saying, “My leadership and voice will not be diminished if I am not on this committee for one term. My voice will get louder and stronger.” 

Omar’s is not the only committee assignment that was targeted by Speaker McCarthy in the 118th Congress. He removed Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell, both California Democrats, from positions on the House Select Committee on Intelligence, which Schiff chaired in the 117th Congress.

McCarthy had the power to unilaterally block Schiff and Swalwell from serving on Intelligence because it is a select committee. Ousting Omar from Foreign Affairs required a full House vote.

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