The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT)

House GOP votes to oust Democrat Omar from major committee

- By Kevin Freking and Lisa Mascaro

WASHINGTON — The Republican-led House voted after raucous debate Thursday to oust Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar from the chamber's Foreign Affairs Committee, citing her anti-Israel comments, in a dramatic response after Democrats last session booted farright GOP lawmakers over incendiary remarks.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was able to solidify Republican support against the Somali-born Muslim woman in the new Congress although some GOP lawmakers had expressed reservatio­ns. Removal of lawmakers from House committees was essentiall­y unpreceden­ted until the Democratic ousters two years ago of hardright Republican Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona.

The 218-211 vote, along party lines, came after a heated, voices-raised debate in which Democrats accused the GOP of targeting Omar based on her race. Omar defended herself on the House floor, asking if anyone was surprised she was being targeted, “because when you push power, power pushes back.” Democratic colleagues hugged and embraced her during the vote.

“My voice will get louder and stronger, and my leadership will be celebrated around the world,” Omar said in a closing speech.

Republican­s focused on six statements Omar has made that “under the totality of the circumstan­ces, disqualify her from serving on the Committee of Foreign Affairs,” said Rep. Michael Guest of Mississipp­i, the incoming chairman of the House Ethics Committee.

The resolution proposed by Rep. Max Miller, R-Ohio, a former official in the Trump administra­tion, declared, “Omar's comments have brought dishonor to the House of Representa­tives.”

Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York said Omar has at times “made mistakes" and used antisemiti­c tropes that were condemned by

House Democrats four years ago. But that's not what Thursday's vote was about, he said.

“It's not about accountabi­lity, it's about political revenge," Jeffries said.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, went further, saying that the GOP's action was one of the “disgusting legacies after 9/11," a reference to he Sept. 11, 2001, attack — "the targeting and racism against Muslim-Americans throughout the United States of America. And this is an extension of that legacy."

She added, “This is about targeting women of color."

McCarthy denied the Republican move to oust Omar was a tit-for-tat after the Greene and Gosar removals under Democrats, though he had warned in late 2021 that such a response might be expected if Republican­s won back the House majority.

“This is nothing like the last Congress," he said Thursday. He noted that Omar can remain on other panels, just not Foreign Affairs after her anti-Israel comments.

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