Ilhan Omar to be booted from House Foreign Affairs Committee, Kevin McCarthy says

Rep. Ilhan Omar 

by JNS Reporter

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Tuesday repeated his promise to block vocal critic of Israel Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) from the House Foreign Affairs Committee. In an interview with Punchbowl News, McCarthy said that he would also prevent Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) from assuming their assignments in the House Intelligence Committee. 

US House Minority Leader, Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California, speaks during his weekly press briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on October 28, 2021. McCarthy has previously argued that Omar should be stripped of her committee seat for her history of antisemitic comments. JIM WATSON/JNS


“Swalwell can’t get a security clearance in the private sector. I’m not going to give him a government clearance,” McCarthy said. “Schiff has lied too many times to the American public. He should not be on Intel.” 

McCarthy has previously argued that Omar should be stripped of her committee seat for her history of antisemitic comments. 

“Look at Congresswoman Omar, Her antisemitic comments that have gone forward. We’re not going to allow her to be on Foreign Affairs,” McCarthy previously vowed during an appearance on Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures.” 

Speaker McCarthy confirms that Adam Schiff, Eric Swalwell, and Ilhan Omar are getting kicked off the Intel and Foreign Affairs Committees. Promises made. Promises kept!” Rep. Troy Nehls, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, tweeted on Tuesday according to ABC News.

McCarthy has long pledged to oust the three, citing objections to their behavior and the precedent of the previous House removing committee assignments for Republican Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona.

Omar’s antisemitic and anti-Israel comments include when she accused the Jewish state of having “hypnotized the world,” accused Jews of buying control of Congress, called Israel an “apartheid state” and likened Israel to the Taliban and Hamas terrorist groups. 

U.S. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) speaks to members of the media outside a closed session before the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees at the U.S. Capitol on October 28, 2019 in Washington, DC. Also pictured are (L-R) Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) and Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA). Schiff & Swalwell aren’t expected to serve on the House Foreign Affairs Committee with McCarthy as Speaker. MARK WILSON/JNS

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) supported McCarthy’s repeated promise to remove Omar from the committee. 

“ZOA applauds Speaker Kevin McCarthy for following through on his commitment,” ZOA National President Morton Klein said in a statement. “Jew-hatred and unwarranted Israel-bashing are dangerous not just to Israel, but to the United States. They undermine the safety of American Jews in the streets of our cities and on college campuses, and they corrode the fabric of our society.” 

Klein went on to say that Omar’s removal sends a powerful message that antisemitism will not be tolerated and urged McCarthy to take the same action against Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) “as punishment for her bigotry as well.” 

McCarthy’s pledge to remove Omar has previously been applauded by other pro-Israel groups including the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, B’nai B’rith International and the Republican Jewish Coalition.

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise was asked during a press conference on Tuesday what the process would be for stripping Democratic members of their assignments and said no one had yet been assigned to committees. But he suggested removals were a new standard first set by Democrats.

“As we see what comes out, the Democrats set a precedent that we urged them strongly not to go down last Congress,” Scalise said.

“They decided that they were going to break the precedent that had been in place for over 200 years and remove members of the opposing party that our party selected to be on committees,” he continued. “And so that was a practice they set and so, obviously, we’re going to be looking very closely at who they appoint. They haven’t appointed anybody yet to committees, but we’re gonna see if they do.”

Rep. Pete Aguilar, the chair of the House Democratic caucus, on Tuesday declined to elaborate on next steps should Schiff and Swalwell be blocked or booted by Republicans from the intelligence panel.

“We will send the names of the individuals who this caucus supports and are qualified to serve on committees,” Aguilar told reporters. “What the speaker does beyond that is something that we will handle … but it isn’t anything we’re going to get in today.”

Produced in association with Jewish News Syndicate.

(Additional reporting provided by Alberto Arellano)


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