GOP’s Kevin McCarthy set to fire Democrats Schiff, Omar and Swalwell from House committees

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GOP's Kevin McCarthy set to fire Democrats Schiff, Omar and Swalwell from House committees
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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has said he will follow through on his promise to expel Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota from the House Foreign Affairs Committee in the new Congress.

Ms. Omar, who is losing her committee assignment over her anti-Semitic rhetoric, is among a handful of Democratic lawmakers that Mr. McCarthy will quit committees for various offenses. It follows a precedent set by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the current Congress.

“I made you another promise last time. There was this Congresswoman Ilhan Omar,” McCarthy told attendees at a Republican Jewish Coalition event in Las Vegas on Saturday, drawing boos from the crowd.

“It’s a legit boo,” he said. “I remember what she said about Israel. … I remember it so much. I promised you last year that [when I am] President, she would no longer be in Foreign Affairs, and I keep that promise.

Ms Omar often lashes out at Israel and has once compared the Jewish state to Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. She also lumped the US and Israel together with terrorist groups, saying, “We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the US, Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan and the Taliban.

At least two other House Democrats — Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell, both of California — can expect to be kicked out of the committees they currently serve on, people close to McCarthy told The Washington Times.

Ms. Pelosi, Democrat of California, set a precedent when she removed Republicans — first Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and later Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona — from all committee assignments for publications and a inflammatory rhetoric online.

In February 2021, the Democratic-led House voted to strip newly elected Ms. Greene of her committee assignments over social media posts embracing conspiracy theories such as whether a plane really hit the Pentagon. 9/11 and its ‘magnet’ a comment that said ‘a bullet to the head would be quicker’ to remove Ms Pelosi from office.

Mr. Gosar’s offense was to post an animated video on social media depicting a swordsman attacking President Biden and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The House voted to censure him and expel him from its committees.

The penalties that will be meted out under Mr. McCarthy, a Republican from California, will be tailored to each Democrat’s offense, ejecting them from a single committee rather than removing them from all of their committees.

Mr. McCarthy, who is poised to win the speaker’s gavel when the House GOP takes a majority on Jan. 3, plans to bar Mr. Schiff and Mr. Swalwell from serving on the House Standing Select Committee on the information.

Mr Schiff, who served as the committee’s top Democrat during the Trump administration, was a key proponent of the now-discredited dossier compiled by ex-British spy Christopher Steele that fueled conspiracy theories about Trump collusion -Russia to rig the 2016 presidential election.

He also said then-Rep. California Republican Devin Nunes was wrong to criticize the FBI for relying on the Steele dossier to secure warrants to surveil Trump campaign figure Carter Page.

Mr McCarthy called for Mr Swalwell’s removal from the Intelligence Committee two years ago after he received a briefing from the FBI about Mr Swalwell’s relationship with Chinese spy Fang Fang.

Mr Swalwell said plans to remove him from the committee were merely ‘retaliation’ for the treatment of Ms Greene and Mr Gosar.

“He targets me and he targets Schiff and he targets Ms Omar because we are effective. Not for any other reason,” Mr. Swalwell said earlier this year on CNN. “It’s the Trumpization of politics. … He’s only doing it for retaliatory purposes and he’s not even offering a fig leaf as to why he’s doing it.

Mr. McCarthy said committee stripping is a Democratic invention and that before Ms. Pelosi did it, the House majority had never interfered in minority party committee assignments.

House Democrats have criticized Mr. McCarthy’s plans.

New York Democrat Rep. Gregory Meeks, who currently chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the GOP will “self-destruct” if it removes Democrats from the committees.

“What we did for the most part was try to move forward for America and weed out those who were physically threatening others,” Meeks said.

Representative Ruben Gallego, Democrat of Arizona, said it would be a bad look for the new Republican majority.

“If they want to waste their time and [show] the United States that they’re here just for revenge and not doing things to help people, that’s not a good way to start,” Mr. Gallego told The Times.

He said the Democrats’ treatment of Ms Greene and Mr Gosar was appropriate. “It’s always a good precedent to tell white supremacists they don’t belong in Congress,” Gallego said.

Mr. Swalwell and Ms. Omar serve on other committees – Judiciary and Labor, respectively – but unlike what happened to Mr. Gosar and Ms. Greene, there is no indication from House Republican leaders that the Democrats will be rendered without committees.

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