After a heated debate, the Republican-led House voted to remove Democrat Ilhan Omar from the chamber’s Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday, citing her anti-Israel remarks.
This marked a dramatic uptick from the previous session when Democrats expelled far-right GOP lawmakers for making inflammatory statements.
Despite some GOP lawmakers’ doubts, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was able to secure Republican support in the new Congress against the Somali-born Muslim woman.
Up to the Democratic ousters of hard-right Republican Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona, two years ago, the removal of politicians from House committees were almost unheard of.
After a contentious, boisterous debate in which Democrats claimed that the GOP was targeting Omar because of her race, the vote, 218-211, was cast along party lines.
Democratic colleagues hugged and embraced their colleague during the voting as Omar defended herself on the House floor, asking whether anybody was shocked that she was being singled out because “when you push power, it pushes back.”
Omar said, “My voice will grow louder and more robust, and my leadership will be praised worldwide.
Republicans concentrated on Omar’s six utterances, which, in Rep. Michael Guest’s words, “given the totality of the circumstances, preclude her from serving on the Committee of Foreign Affairs.”
Due to the worldwide sensitivity and national security issues that fall under the purview of this committee, Guest stated that “all members, both Republicans and Democrats alike, should be held to the highest standard of conduct.”
Omar’s remarks have disgraced the House of Representatives, according to the resolution by Rep. Max Miller, a former official in the Trump administration from Ohio.
Omar has occasionally “made mistakes,” according to Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York, and employed antisemitic cliches denounced by House Democrats four years ago.
But, he claimed, that was not the topic of the vote on Thursday.
It’s about political vengeance, not accountability, according to Jeffries.
“This is about targeting women of color,” she continued.
One of only two Muslim women elected to Congress is Omar. She is also the first to wear a hijab in the House chamber after the floor rules were modified to permit members to cover their heads out of respect for their religion.
After being elected to Congress in 2019, she instantly stirred up controversy with tweets that said politicians who supported Israel were driven by monetary gain.