House Dem leader predicts ‘bipartisan’ support to keep Ilhan Omar on Foreign Affairs Committee

House Democratic leadership backed Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced plans to remove her from the House Foreign Affairs Committee, with the head of the Democratic Caucus predicting that Republicans will join him in an effort to keep her there.

During a news conference Wednesday morning, House Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., fielded a question about Omar’s potential ouster from the committee and offered a reminder that Omar is not automatically off the committee just because McCarthy made the announcement.

“It would take a vote and a resolution for that to happen and the Democratic Caucus stands with Representative Omar that she should serve on this committee. And we’ll see how Republicans want to handle this,” Aguilar said.

Omar has upset colleagues in the past with anti-Israel statements that have played on antisemitic tropes, such as when she said, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby” to explain why McCarthy criticized her for opposing the Jewish State. She also drew ire for a remark in which she compared the United States and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban.

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In this April 20, 2021, file photo Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., speaks in Brooklyn Center, Minn., during a news conference at the site of the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright by a police officer during a traffic stop.
(AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Aguilar said the Democratic Caucus supports having Omar sit on the Foreign Affairs Committee, and said he has reason to believe at least some Republicans do too.

“She has the background, and breadth, and experience to serve on this committee, and she should be able to,” he said. “And clearly it’s going to be, based on the letter I read, it’s going to be a bipartisan vote to keep her on the committee.”

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Aguilar recalled that when Democrats acted to remove Republicans Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar from committees in 2019, those were also bipartisan votes. It appears that Democrats will have some Republicans on their side in supporting Omar should her committee assignment be up for a vote, although whether it will be enough to keep her out remains to be seen.

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So far, Rep. Victoria Spartz, R-Ind., has said she opposes Omar’s removal, as has Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C.