House GOP prepares to oust Democrat from committee

WASHINGTON (AP) – House Republicans are preparing to oust Democrat Representative Ilhan Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee over her earlier comments critical of Israel, tensions escalated after the latest session of the Democrats booted far-right GOP lawmakers from committees for their inflammatory, violent comments.

Thursday’s vote is a quick turnaround by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to solidify faltering Republican support for moving against the Somali-born Muslim woman in the new Congress. Some GOP lawmakers had expressed reservations about taking such a dramatic step. The removal of lawmakers from their House committees was essentially unprecedented until the Democratic ousters of far-right Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green of Georgia and Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona.

Omar, a Democrat from Minnesota, apologized for comments he said he understood were anti-Semitic.

“We will have enough votes,” McCarthy said on Wednesday.

The resolution proposed by Rep. Max Miller R-Ohio, a former Trump administration official, says, “Omar’s comments brought disgrace to the House of Representatives.”

Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas supported Omar’s exclusion from the judging panel during a recent closed-door meeting with fellow Republicans.

“It’s just that his worldview of Israel is so diametrically opposed to that of the committee,” McCaul told reporters describing his position. “I don’t mind having differences of opinion, but this goes further.”

Omar said that, really, “it’s about revenge. It’s about appeasing the former president,” referring to Donald Trump.

McCarthy has already barred Representatives Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell, both Democrats from California, from rejoining the House Intelligence Committee once the GOP took control of the house in January. While intelligence panel appointments are the prerogative of the speaker, action on Omar requires a vote in the House.

Democrats have little recourse at this point. “We are united that she should be sitting on the committee,” said Rep. Gregory Meeks of New York, the ranking Democrat on the committee.

Several Republicans skeptical of Omar’s removal wanted “due process” for lawmakers facing removal. McCarthy said he told them he would work with Democrats to create a due process system, but he acknowledged that he’s still a work in progress and isn’t exactly sure what form he will take.

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