Friday February 3, 2023
BY JULIA MUELLER
Greg Nash/ The Hill
Members of the “squad” of progressive House lawmakers on Thursday railed against House Republicans for voting to remove one of their own, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), from the House Foreign Affairs Committee, arguing the move was motivated by GOP bias against women of color in Congress.
Republicans on the House floor ahead of the vote argued for a resolution to oust Omar — a Somali refugee and one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress — over a number of remarks she has made that Republicans say are antisemitic.
“There is nothing consistent with the Republican Party’s continued attack, except for the racism and incitement of violence against women of color in this body,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said in fiery remarks that prompted applause from Democrats.
“This is about targeting women of color in the United States of America.”
Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.) had argued ahead of Ocasio-Cortez that the vote was “about consistency” in penalizing lawmakers for certain remarks.
Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) called the resolution to oust Omar from the Foreign Affairs panel “offensive” and “just a bunch of racist gaslighting.”
“Republicans are waging a blatantly Islamophobic and racist attack against Congresswoman Omar. I have said it before, I will say it again: The white supremacy happening is unbelievable. This is despicable,” she said.
“It is Congresswoman Omar who has been harassed at her job for simply existing as a Muslim woman in Congress … ridiculing her as a potential terrorist for simply existing as a Muslim woman in this Congress,” Bush added, referring to offensive comments made by Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) last year.
“So rather than bring any actual accountability to Congress, they bring this offensive resolution to the floor. This is just a bunch of racist gaslighting. We all know it,” Bush said.
Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) lauded Omar’s accomplishments and argued that Omar is “right where she belongs” in Congress and on the Foreign Affairs panel.
“No matter how embattled, no matter how racially profiled, no matter how targeted, she has pressed on for peace,” Pressley said of Omar.
Over calls that her time to speak had expired, Pressley shouted an urge for her colleagues to vote to keep Omar on the panel, saying “her words in Congress are needed on the Foreign Affairs Committee.”
Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) had long vowed to keep Omar off the panel and block California Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell from seats on the House Intelligence Committee. McCarthy was able to unilaterally bar Schiff and Swalwell, but needed a vote on the Foreign Affairs move.
The chamber ultimately approved the resolution to oust Omar along party lines, 218-211, with Rep. David Joyce (R-Ohio) voting “present.”
Ocasio-Cortez during her defense of Omar made reference to Republican Rep. Paul Gosar (Ariz.), who during the last session shared an edited anime video that depicted him killing the congresswoman, and to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) for remarks also criticized as antisemitic.
“I had a member of the Republican caucus threaten my life, and you all and the Republican caucus rewarded him with one of the most prestigious committee assignments in this Congress, Don’t tell me this is about consistency,” Ocasio-Cortez said of Gosar’s placement on the House Oversight and Accountability Committee.
“Don’t tell me this is about a condemnation of antisemitic remarks when you have a member of the Republican caucus who talked about Jewish space lasers … and also elevated her to some of the highest committee assignments in this body,” she said of Greene.