McCarthy Might Have a Math Problem in Blocking Omar from Panel

Math may not be House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s strongest subject. The California Republican has made a staunch, public vow to block Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) from sitting on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. 

But this has already hit an early snag: he may not have the votes to do it.

Now McCarthy has a math problem to solve, one that could prove an early test of his ability to keep his narrow majority united and fulfill a long-running vow.

Omar is one of just three Muslims in Congress. Since she was elected, Omar has been a controversial figure on Capitol Hill for her sharp criticisms of the Israeli government and its human rights record. 

Republicans have said she has crossed a line into antisemitism, and McCarthy’s case for kicking her off of the Foreign Affairs committee rests on that accusation.

Democrats are rallying behind Omar. Numbers wise, this means it could force the Republican leaders to rely exclusively on their own party members to boot her. 

Members of the Foreign Affairs Committee have said there are already two Republicans that have indicated that they will not vote to put her off, and others are expected to come aboard also.

It is not expected to be a simple vote. 

Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Ind.) said this week she will oppose removing Omar, calling McCarthy’s move “unprecedented” while citing her opposition to Democrats’ successful previous removal of GOP Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.) and Paul Gosar (Ariz.) from committees in 2021. 

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) has also seemed to oppose the measure but has not confirmed her final judgment on the issue. 

Adding to the mathematical headache, Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.) said he will be sidelined for several weeks after falling 25 feet from a ladder on his property. This has eliminated an easy “yes” vote for republicans if the resolution hits the floor soon. 

A wild card in the debate remains whether Democrats would vote unanimously to support Omar. The overwhelming majority are expected to do so, putting pressure on McCarthy to rally his own troops. 

Omar hasn’t officially been recommended for the committee yet and a House vote has not been set.

For months, McCarthy has signaled he would specifically block three Democrats from serving on certain committees if he succeeded in winning the speaker position: Omar on Foreign Affairs, and Reps. Adam Schiff (Calif.) and Eric Swalwell (Calif.) on the House Intelligence Committee.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.