Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the House GOP leader and Speaker in the chamber, has lost a third Republican in his push to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) from the House Foreign Affairs Committee, for which Democrats recently formally selected the Congresswoman. McCarthy is coming close to a confirmation he doesn’t have the votes.
Unlike McCarthy’s opposition to Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell, both California Democrats, serving on the House Intelligence Committee, the procedural makeup of the panel on foreign affairs means a vote in the full House is required to remove a member. The vote would be like what Democrats conducted, with some Republican support, in their past pushes to remove Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) from committees. Now, Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), who has himself spent years on the foreign affairs committee, is expressing opposition to removing Omar from the panel. Buck has been involved with the House Freedom Caucus, a high-profile group of especially right-wing conservatives in the House.
“I think that Nancy Pelosi ruined this institution,” Buck claimed to journalist Chuck Todd. “I think she ruined it in a lot of different ways. And one of the ways was kicking members off of committees, which hadn’t been done in the past. Certainly, their own party has kicked members off committees. Steve King from Iowa, for example, was removed from committee assignments by Republicans, but that hasn’t happened with the other party. She determined who would get on the January 6 commission and put two Republicans on that committee. So I think that we should not engage in this tit for tat. I am opposed to the removal of Congresswoman Omar from committees.”
Other Republicans who have expressed opposition to the idea include Reps. Nancy Mace (S.C.) and Victoria Spartz (Ind.), the latter of whom was definitely not thrilled in a public statement she released. “Two wrongs do not make a right,” Spartz said. “Speaker Pelosi took unprecedented actions last Congress to remove Reps. Greene and Gosar from their committees without proper due process. Speaker McCarthy is taking unprecedented actions this Congress to deny some committee assignments to the Minority without proper due process again. As I spoke against it on the House floor two years ago, I will not support this charade again. Speaker McCarthy needs to stop “bread and circuses” in Congress and start governing for a change.”
Axios identified several Republicans in the House as undecided, including Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.) and David Valadao (Calif.), both of whom were elected in districts that went for Biden, which perhaps gives them an incentive against going too far.
McCarthy already has a record as Speaker defined in part by losing, considering it took over a dozen rounds of balloting for him to even secure his present leadership role. With the Republican at the helm, the House has passed legislation that, if enacted, would undo additional funding for the IRS, and there’s been talk of considering, at least in a committee, a proposal to replace income taxes at the federal level with a national sales tax of some 30 percent — so things are going predictably off the metaphorical rails. (McCarthy has expressed personal opposition to the sales tax proposal.)
Check out comments from Buck below:
WATCH: Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) says Republicans should not engage in a “tit-for-tat” when it comes to committee selections.@RepKenBuck: “I am opposed to the removal of Congresswoman Omar from committees.” pic.twitter.com/dyfktK7wsb
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) January 27, 2023