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House Democrats brace for Speaker McCarthy to block their committee assignments in retaliatory strike

Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff of California, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, and Eric Swalwell of California.Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff of California, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, and Eric Swalwell of California.

Anna Moneymaker and Win McNamee/Getty Images

  • House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has pledged to bar three Democrats from sitting on two committees.
  • Republicans are targeting Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff, Eric Swalwell, and Ilhan Omar.
  • Democrats declined to speculate on next steps if McCarthy follows through on his plan.

As Speaker Kevin McCarthy prepares to make good on promises to punish three House Democratic lawmakers by stripping them of their committee assignments in the nascent 118th Congress, questions remain about how far the political retribution will go. 

McCarthy promised a year ago that Reps. Adam Schiff of California, Eric Swalwell of California, and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota would pay the price for House Democratic leaders plucking conservative firebrands Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona from their respective panels in the last session. McCarthy on Monday told the Associated Press that penalizing the Democratic trio was at the top of his to-do list this year, arguing that “Schiff has lied to the American public.” 

—Farnoush Amiri (@FarnoushAmiri) January 10, 2023


House Democratic Caucus chair Pete Aguilar declined to speculate on next steps should McCarthy follow through on his plan to remove Schiff and Swalwell from the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee. 

“We will send the names of the individuals who this caucus supports and are qualified to serve on committees. What the speaker does beyond that is something that we will handle … but it isn’t anything that we’re going to get into today,” Aguilar told congressional reporters during a Capitol Hill press conference. 

Schiff served as chairman of the Intelligence panel in the 117th Congress. Swalwell has served on the Intelligence committee since 2015, and is also a member of the Homeland Security Committee and Judiciary Committee.  

Both served as impeachment managers in the back-to-back House trials against embattled former President Donald Trump, with Schiff tapped to lead the 2019 impeachment proceedings and Swalwell contributing to the 2021 probe

Staff for House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment about defending Democratic members’ committee assignments. A Schiff spokeswoman wrote “we’ll have more information on this at a later date.”

—Farnoush Amiri (@FarnoushAmiri) January 10, 2023


The potential move, promised by McCarthy, follows Democrats’ decisions last Congress to strip Republican Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona from their committee assignments because of her promotion of conspiracy theories and endorsement of political violence and his anime video depicting him killing Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.

But Democrats aren’t without recourse if Republicans carry out their plans this Congress.

Last month, McCarthy explained how Democrats could retaliate against him for not seating the three Democrats under a rule he was fighting at the time — and later agreed to. 

Back then, McCarthy opposed a rule allowing a member to propose a “motion to vacate the chair” because it would allow any single member of the House to call for a vote to unseat the House speaker, a move that would fail but take up significant floor time. McCarthy thought there should be a higher threshold. But he ultimately agreed to the rule to win support from conservative members.

“Think about this,” McCarthy told Newsmax host Sean Spicer last month. “Adam Schiff and Swalwell are no longer going to be on the Intel Committee. Omar’s no longer going to be on Foreign Affairs, based upon what they’ve done. Don’t you think they’ll walk to the floor to try to make havoc every single day with us? 

“Why would we turn the floor over to the Democrats?” he continued. “Why would we empower the Democrats to stop our agenda going forward?”

Read the original article on Business Insider