Republican Rep. Victoria Spartz of Indiana announced Tuesday that she opposes House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s push to remove three Democratic lawmakers — Representatives Adam Schiff, Eric Swalwell and Ilhan Omar — from committees.
The House GOP’s new majority is preparing for a showdown with Democrats over the issue, but a pushback from within the House GOP has the potential to complicate efforts to oust Omar, a Minnesota Democrat, in particular. Spartz is the second Republican to suggest she would vote against such a move. Rep. Nancy Mays of South Carolina indicated to CNN earlier this month that she would be unlikely to support a measure to oust Omar if it got to the ground.
McCarthy has cited a “new standard” from Democrats for stripping them of their committee duties after the Democratic-led House of Representatives in 2021 removed GOP Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona from their committees for inflammatory rhetoric and indictments. .
In her statement, Spartz referenced the previous move by House Democrats, saying that “two wrongs don’t make a right.”
“Speaker Pelosi took unprecedented action in the last Congress to remove Representatives Green and Gosar from their committees without due process. Speaker McCarthy is taking unprecedented action in this Congress to deny certain minority committee appointments without due process again,” Spartz continued. .
“While I spoke against it on the House floor two years ago, I will never again support this farce,” the congresswoman said.
Democratic leaders formally renominated Schiff and Swalwell to the House Intelligence Committee. Omar formally requested a seat on the Foreign Affairs Committee.
McCarthy has the power to unilaterally prevent Schiff and Swalwell from serving on the House Intelligence Committee because it is a select committee. In a letter to House Minority Leader Hakeem Jefferies Tuesday night, McCarthy formally denied California Democrats seats on the committee.
Omar was expelled, however, from The House Committee on Foreign Affairs requires a vote of the full House. The Democrats will disagree and it will take a handful of GOP members to stop McCarthy from moving forward given that the Republicans control only a very slim majority in the House of Representatives.
Omar told reporters that Pelosi was “very clear” about why Green and Gosar were fired.
“This is because they threatened the lives of their colleagues,” she told reporters. They posed a danger to the people with whom they would serve on committees, to the actual institution they were sworn to protect. Unless McCarthy can say how myself, Adam Schiff, and Eric Swalwell are a danger to the establishment and our colleagues, he is not following the example set by Speaker Pelosi.”
Spartz voted “present” during several rounds of voting as McCarthy was trying to gain traction to win the speakership at the start of the new Congress. In the end, however, the congresswoman voted for McCarthy in the final round in which he took the gavel.
This story has been updated with additional details.