Republicans pushed ahead with a vote to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday, immediately after the committee’s membership was approved—their problem was that they couldn’t kick her off the committee until she was actually on it. “Oh, so now we can vote her off,” Speaker Kevin McCarthy told reporters after the committee membership was established. And they did, 218 to 211, with one Republican voting present.
McCarthy ensured that this would be possible by leaning on so-called moderate Republicans who had said they would vote against kicking Omar off the committee. All three Republicans who had said they would vote no changed their tune after McCarthy promised them he’d change the process for removing members from committees. In the future, according to the “commitment” Rep. Nancy Mace says she got from McCarthy, a full House vote would only come after a referral to the House Ethics Committee. As reporter Jacob Rubashkin tweeted, “So the ‘compromise’ is that hypothetical other members in the future will get the benefit of a protracted process but the real member facing removal now doesn’t?”
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Nauseatingly, Mace tweeted about her supposed compromise by calling herself a #IndependentVoice. Yes, that’s what they usually call it when you give your leader what he wants by extracting a meaningless “commitment” for the future.
Omar was defiant in the face of the partisan, racist retaliation against Democrats for having removed Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from committees two years ago. Greene had endorsed assassinating public officials in social media posts and embraced conspiracy theories about mass shootings being hoaxes, among other things. Republicans have accused Omar, one of the first two Muslim women in Congress, of antisemitism, an accusation based largely on her criticism of Israel’s government and support for Palestinian rights.
The vote to remove Greene was notably bipartisan, with 11 Republicans voting yes.
“My leadership and voice will not be diminished if I am not on this committee for one term. My voice will get louder and stronger,” Omar said in remarks immediately ahead of the vote. “So take your vote or not. I am here to stay, and I am here to be a voice against harms around the world and advocate for a better world.”
Earlier this week, Republican Rep. George Santos voluntarily left his committee assignments as he faces investigation for serious campaign finance violations. But whatever private pressure he may have gotten from McCarthy, he was allowed to step down himself, as his leadership has at least publicly continued to support him.
Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez, President at NextGen America, is back to talk with us about young voters. She talks about whether the rising numbers of young voters we saw during the midterms are sustainable, and what still needs to be done to achieve more young voter participation in our democracy as we progress toward a better America.
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