It was Resolution 76 that the House of Representatives voted on Thursday: a motion to "expel a member from a particular committee" of the First Chamber.

First there were some heated statements.

Then the Republicans narrowly voted to require Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota to leave the Foreign Affairs Committee.

But that shouldn't have come as a surprise to most people.

The dispute between Republicans and Democrats over committee posts has been brewing for two years.

Now he has discharged himself publicly.

Sofia Dreisbach

North American political correspondent based in Washington.

  • Follow I follow

The Republicans are citing statements by the left-wing Democrat, which have been widely condemned as anti-Semitic, in support of the exclusion of Omar.

In a February 2019 tweet, she suggested that Washington's support for Israel had been bought.

Barely a month after her first entry into Congress, Omar drew sharp criticism from the faction leadership.

She used "anti-Semitic stereotypes" that were "deeply offensive".

Omar finally issued a "sincere" apology to her constituency and to all Jewish Americans.

The Democratic minority leader in the House of Representatives, Hakeem Jeffries, spoke on Thursday about mistakes that Omar had made - but defended the MPs firmly.

Before the vote, Jeffries commented,

Omar's case is not about "public political debate" or accountability.

"It's about political revenge."

This allegation relates to the removal of two Republican lawmakers from committees in the past legislature.

Democrats relieved Georgia's Marjorie Taylor Greene and Arizona's Paul Gosar of their duties in 2021 with a majority in the House of Representatives.

Greene, who repeatedly attracts attention with racist and anti-Semitic remarks and conspiracy theories, had called for violence against Democrats on social media, among other things.

MP Gosar, in turn, had published an animated video in which a character with his facial features killed the left-wing democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

In Greene's case, eleven Republicans and Gosar's two Republicans voted with the Democrats for exclusion.

"Pelosi Precedent"

After winning a majority in the House of Representatives in November's congressional elections, Republicans now have the power to redistribute committee posts and increase or decrease board size.

As a rule, the previous members return to the respective committees if they are still members of Congress.

In the case of a Republican majority, the longest-serving Republican usually leads the committee, and the longest-serving Democrat becomes his deputy.

But even with Greene and Gosar, critics warned of possible retaliation should the Republicans regain a majority, above all the current speaker of the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy.

The Republican, then the minority leader, had spoken of a "Pelosi precedent" that the speaker of the House of Representatives had created.

In the future, Democrats who are considered unsuitable for certain committees will also be removed.

With the new, albeit thin, majority in the House of Representatives, the Republicans now have the upper hand.

As announced, McCarthy also refused the former seats on the important intelligence committee for the Democratic MPs Eric Swalwell and Adam Schiff, the former chairman of the body.

In a letter to Democrat leader Jeffries, McCarthy wrote that he "cannot put party loyalty above national security" and recognize years of service as the "sole criterion."

"Integrity is more important." Both Schiff and Swalwell had played key roles in Trump's second impeachment trial.

Will the procedure change in the future?

In the case of Omar, there was also initial criticism of the “revenge resolution” within the party.

According to American media reports, however, the Republican leaders have used the past few weeks to repeatedly remind the faction of Omar's statements.

McCarthy denied reports of disagreement, saying he certainly had enough votes.

However, shortly before the vote, some Republicans said they were only voting yes because McCarthy had promised them that in the future they would develop a process that would make it harder to remove representatives from committees.

In the end, 218 of 222 Republicans in the House of Representatives voted in favor of the resolution, with one abstaining and three absent.

The 40-year-old Muslim Omar was born in Somalia, came to the United States in 1995 and received American citizenship at the age of 17.

In her speech before the vote, Omar accused Republicans of actually oppressing immigrant women.

Anyone who comes from certain areas, has a certain skin color or is Muslim is under general suspicion.

"Does it surprise anyone that they consider me unworthy of American foreign policy?" She will only raise her voice even louder in the future.

A day before the vote, Omar shared a voice message on Twitter in which a man threatened to put a bullet in her head.

"Get out of my country," he continues to shout and insults the MP sexistically.

Omar wrote: "These threats escalate whenever Republicans target me."