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House votes to kick Rep. Ilhan Omar off committee over anti-Semitic remarks

The GOP-led House voted Thursday ​to boot Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee over her past anti-Semitic comments after two Republicans once reluctant to oust her decided to support the resolution for removal. 

The vote to remove Omar broke along party lines, with 218 Republicans voting to strip her of the assignment and 211 Democrats backing their colleague. One Republican, David Joyce of Ohio, voted present.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) announced the vote Wednesday after ​the chamber approved the Democratic assignments for the Foreign Affairs Committee, setting the stage for the Minnesota lawmaker’s ouster from the panel.

“Oh, so now we can vote her off,” McCarthy told reporters​ after the assignments were finalized.

“We’ll have enough votes even though there’s some members who are out, unfortunately, because of family,” the speaker added.​

The two Republicans – Reps. Victoria Spartz of Indiana and ​Ken Buck of Colorado – got aboard the effort when McCarthy assured them that he was willing to change the process for kicking members off committees in the future. 

“What I told him, and I had this conversation with Victoria too, we want due process. That we would work on process. I don’t know exactly what it’s like. … Just don’t want to pull something out of thin — out of my head. I actually want to work with the Democrats on it too because I think it’s healthy for the institution,” ​the speaker said.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) leaves her office at the Longworth House Office Building on February 2.
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McCarthy, who vowed last November to remove Omar (D-Minn.) if Republicans won a majority in the House, has already moved to block Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell, both of California, from the House Intelligence Committee. 

The move against the Somali-born Omar, one of two Muslim women serving in the House, follows outrage by Republicans over the removal of Reps. Paul Gosar of Arizona and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia from their committees by Democrats in the last Congress.

Omar, 40, once compared Israel to terrorist organizations like Hamas and the Taliban, and said the relationship between the Jewish state and the United States is “all about the Benjamins” — even suggesting American lawmakers who support Israel were paid by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (C), joined by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) (L) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), speaks at a press conference.
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Omar defended herself Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” by saying she was unfamiliar with “tropes about Jews and money.”

”I certainly did not or was not aware that the word ‘hypnotized’ was a trope. I wasn’t aware of the fact that there are tropes about Jews and money. That has been a very enlightening part of this journey,” she said in the interview.

In a Twitter posting Wednesday evening, Omar urged House members to “reject” removing her. 

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) departs a news conference.
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“We can’t go down this road. No member of Congress should be removed from committee because of accusations of undermining a relationship with a foreign country,” she said. “Members must maintain their independence on policy issues.”

“Omar clearly cannot be an objective decision-maker on the Foreign Affairs Committee given her biases against Israel and the Jewish people,” it says.

Rep. Michael McCaul, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he supports the resolution.

“It’s just that her worldview of Israel is so diametrically opposed to the committee’s,” the Texas Republican told reporters. “I don’t mind having differences of opinion, but this goes beyond that.”

With Post wires