House removes Ilhan Omar from Foreign Affairs Committee in party-line vote

In a party-line vote on Wednesday, the House approved a resolution to remove Ilhan Omar (D – MN), the progressive Rep. on House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Top Republicans had vowed her removal from the panel citing her inflammatory remarks about Israel in 2019. In particular, the Minnesota Democrat suggested that politicians who support the Jewish State are motivated by campaign funds — comments that were criticized by members of both sides as antisemitic.

The House voted 218 to 211. One Republican, Rep. David Joyce (R.OH), a member the Ethics Committee, voted “present”.

Rep. Michael Guest (R. MS) stated that Democrats had set a dangerous precedent by removing two Republicans form their committee assignments in the last session of Congress. However, he argued that the Thursday vote on Omar wasn’t comparable since the GOP resolution was narrowly tailored to allow her to continue on other panels.


“Today’s Resolution as it pertains to Rep. Omar details 6 statements she made while a sitting member in Congress that, under all the circumstances, disqualify them from serving on Committee on Foreign Affairs.” he stated on the floor.

He said, “The Committee on Foreign Affairs, a prestigious Committee, is viewed by nations around, both allies or adversaries as speaking for Congress on matters international importance and national safety.” Because of the national security and international sensitivity of the committee’s jurisdiction, all members, Republican and Democrats, should adhere to the highest standards of conduct.

Top Democrats slammed this move as “political retribution” following their 2021 decision, Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar (R–AZ) being removed from their committee assignments. This was in the aftermath of a series of controversies.

Hakeem Jeffries, D-NY House Minority Leader, blasted the resolution and noted that a few Republicans had made similar remarks during a press conference before Thursday’s vote. He also mentioned how the House had voted on a broad resolution condemning racism shortly after Omar’s comments four years ago.

“Rep. Omar has certainly made mistakes. Omar has made mistakes. What’s happening on the floor today isn’t a public policy discussion. It’s not about accountability. He said it was about political revenge, while being surrounded by signs that displayed past offensive remarks made by GOP members.

It’s a double-triple, quadruple and more than standard when you consider all the members. These three individuals have been accused of antisemitic and offensive behavior.

After days of uncertainty about whether the measure would have enough GOP support for passage, many members expressed reservations about the decision to bring it to the floor.

Rep. Victoria Spartz (R.IN) changed her vote from a “no” to a “yes” after language was added that allowed the removed member to “rightly bring a case to the Committee on Ethics as grounds to an appeal to Speaker of the House for reconsideration or removal decision of any committee.” The appeal will not work because the House approves standing committee positions. The other public holdouts, Reps. Ken Buck and Nancy Mace (R.CO), also changed their votes within hours of the vote reaching the floor.

McCarthy had previously removed Eric Swalwell (D.CA) and Adam Schiff (D.CA) unilaterally form the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. This was due to Schiff’s handling the investigation into the alleged Russian ties of former President Donald Trump and Swalwell’s relationship with an alleged Chinese spy. Both Schiff and Swalwell repeatedly claimed they did not do anything wrong.

McCarthy can remove members from select committees, but a vote by the full House is required to take a member of a standing commission off its roster.