Republicans oust Ilhan Omar from powerful House committee

Republicans have ousted Democrat Ilhan Omar from her committee post in a sign of escalating tensions in the US Congress, the BBC reports.

They voted to remove Ms Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee over her past comments about Israel.

Republicans said the move sent a strong statement against antisemitism.

But Democrats and Ms Omar said it was revenge after two Republicans were ousted from committees in 2020 when Democrats held a House majority.

Ms Omar also suggested she was being removed due to her being a Muslim woman who immigrated to the US as a refugee. “Is anyone surprised that I am somehow deemed unworthy to speak about American foreign policy?” she said shortly before the vote.

Republicans secured a majority in the House of Representatives following the midterm elections in November, and members voted along party lines to remove Ms Omar on Thursday.

She is one of three high-profile Democrats to lose a committee assignment under the new House majority, which is led by Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar was one of just two Democrats to vote ‘present’ on a resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide..

The Democratic-controlled House voted 405-11 in favor of the resolution in October 2019.

After casting her vote, Omar said in a statement: “I also believe accountability for human rights violations—especially ethnic cleansing and genocide—is paramount. But accountability and recognition of genocide should not be used as cudgel in a political fight.”

Then she brought up the slave trade, the mass killing of Native Americans during colonization, and other atrocities.

“It should be done based on academic consensus outside the push and pull of geopolitics,” she continued. “A true acknowledgement of historical crimes against humanity must include both the heinous genocides of the 20th century, along with earlier mass slaughters like the transatlantic slave trade and Native American genocide, which took the lives of hundreds of millions of indigenous people in this country. For this reason, I voted ‘present’ on final passage of H.Res. 296, the resolution Affirming the United States record on the Armenian Genocide.”

A few month later, on April 24, 2020, Omar commemorated the 105th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

“On this somber day, I join Armenians in Minnesota and around the world in mourning the lives lost and honor the extraordinary resilience of the Armenian people,” she wrote on Twitter.

In August 2020 Rep. Ilhan Omar joined the Congressional Armenian Caucus.

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