Republican Rep. Victoria Spartz of Indiana announced on Tuesday that she opposes Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s push to remove three Democrats – Reps. Adam Schiff, Eric Swalwell and Ilhan Omar – from committees.
The new House GOP majority is gearing up for a showdown with Democrats over the issue, but pushback from within the House GOP has the potential to complicate an effort to oust Omar, a Minnesota Democrat, in particular. Spartz is the second Republican to suggest she’d vote against such a move. Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina signaled to CNN earlier this month she’d be unlikely to back a measure to oust Omar if it came to the floor.
“Two wrongs do not make a right. 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,” Spartz said.
“As I spoke against it on the House floor two years ago, I will not support this charade again,” the congresswoman said.
McCarthy has the power to unilaterally block Schiff and Swalwell from serving on the House Intelligence Committee because it is a select committee. However, ousting Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee would require a vote of the full House of Representatives. Democrats would oppose and it would only take a handful of GOP members to block McCarthy from moving forward given that Republicans control only a razor-thin majority in the House.
Democratic leaders have officially renominated Schiff and Swalwell to the intelligence committee. And Omar has officially requested to have a seat on the foreign affairs committee.
McCarthy has been suggesting for months he won’t seat Schiff and Swalwell, but hasn’t officially made the announcement.
Spartz voted “present” during several rounds of votes as McCarthy was trying to lock up the support to win the speakership at the start of the new Congress. Ultimately, however, the congresswoman voted for McCarthy in the final round in which he secured the gavel.