Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) might finally have the votes he needs to keep his longtime promise and block Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from sitting on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. This comes as Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-IN) — who had previously indicated she would not vote to boot Omar — reversed her previous statement, saying she’ll now support McCarthy’s effort to vote Omar out, which could take place today.
Spartz’s change of heart comes after McCarthy agreed to add new language to the resolution that would allow Omar to appeal the decision with the House Ethics Committee.
“I appreciate Speaker McCarthy’s willingness to address legitimate concerns and add due process language to our resolution. Deliberation and debate are vital for our institution, not top-down approaches,” Spartz said in a Tuesday statement. “As to my fellow conservatives, I think setting a precedent of allowing an appeal process for the Speaker’s and majority-party removal decisions is particularly important to freedom-loving legislators who usually are on the receiving end of issues like this.”
Following the addition of the new language, House Republicans said they plan to bring the issue to the House floor for a vote as soon as Wednesday.
McCarthy has vowed to fulfill his promise to oust some Democrats out of their seats as retaliation, after Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Paul Gosar (R-AZ) were stripped of their committee assignments last year after sharing dangerous conspiracy theories and violent posts targeting Democratic lawmakers on their social media accounts.
Last week, McCarthy single handedly blocked Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Eric Swalwell (D-CA) from joining the House Intelligence Committee. The House speaker has said he’s targeting Omar for some of her past remarks, which have been described as anti-Semitic. In Omar’s case, McCarthy needed the support of a majority of the whole House to block her from her committee seat.
Early on, Spartz alongside Reps. Ken Buck (R-CO) and Nancy Mace indicated they would not support the resolution to block Omar. And on Monday, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) announced he was undecided on if he will vote to block Omar. That uncertainty created another math problem for McCarthy.
If all Democrats support Omar, McCarthy can only afford to lose four Republican votes.
But Spartz changing her mind and Republicans saying they are planning on voting on the resolution as soon as Wednesday indicates McCarty likely whipped enough votes to remove Omar from the committee.
Gaetz seemed unfazed by news of Spartz’s reversal. He said Tuesday he still hasn’t made up his mind.
“I haven’t made a final decision about my vote, but I care a lot about due process and the lack of any due process was one of the more uncomfortable features of this to me yesterday,” Gaetz told The Hill.