Republicans oust Rep. Omar from high-profile House committee

Republicans have voted to kick Democrat Ilhan Omar off of a high-profile House committee, CNN reports. The deeply divided GOP-led House voted 218-211 along party lines to remove Rep. Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee. 

Republicans cited remarks Rep. Omar made in 2019 remarks for which she later apologized. House Republicans have argued Omar should not serve on the committee in light of past statements she has made related to Israel that in some cases been criticized as antisemitic. 

Democrats have criticized the push to oust Rep. Omar, arguing it amounts to an act of political revenge and that the Minnesota Democrat has been held accountable for her past remarks. 

Experts say the move is a retaliation for when Democrats made an unprecedented move of removing Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Paul Gosar (R-AZ) from their committee assignments in 2021. 

The action by House Republicans comes after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy officially denied seats on the House Intelligence Committee to Democratic Reps. Eric Swalwell and Adam Schiff, the former chairman of the panel. This decision was condemned by Democrats.

One of the vows McCarthy made last year if Republicans won back the House majority was to strip certain Democratic representatives of committee assignments. He specifically said that he would strip Schiff, Swalwell, and Omar of committee assignments, arguing that Democrats created a “new standard” when they held the majority by removing Republican Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona from committees for violent rhetoric and posts.

Ahead of the vote, Rep. Omar said her removal from the committee wouldn’t “diminish” her “leadership and voice” in the lower chamber. Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) called the move “political revenge.”

Omar, who arrived in the U.S. as a refugee from Somalia, is the only African-born member of Congress and one of the only Muslim women in the House. She was in line to be the top Democrat on the foreign affairs panel’s Africa subcommittee.

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