Jan 10, 2022 - Politics & Policy

McCarthy plans to oust Schiff, Swalwell and Omar from panels


House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Monday he plans to remove Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) from their respective committees if Republicans retake the House majority.

Why it matters: McCarthy's comments offer a preview of the scorched-earth tactics Republicans may adopt if they win back control of Congress in 2022.

McCarthy has long said the removals of Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) from their committees set a new standard that his party will not hesitate to use against Democrats.

  • In a floor speech opposing the Gosar's ouster in November, McCarthy said certain members, including Schiff, Swalwell and Omar, will "need the approval of a majority" to remain on their panels.
  • Republicans also point to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's refusal to seat two of McCarthy's picks for the Jan. 6 select committee as another precedent-setter.

What they're saying: "He will not be serving there," McCarthy said of Swalwell's placement on the House Intelligence Committee in an interview with Breitbart.

  • "Ilhan Omar should not be serving on" the House Foreign Affairs Committee, McCarthy added. "Adam Schiff, he should not be serving on Intel."
  • McCarthy pointed to Swalwell's association with a Chinese spy, reported by Axios. Swalwell, who cut ties with the spy after being alerted to her activities by federal investigators, has not been accused of wrongdoing.
  • In the case of Omar, McCarthy quoted her 2019 remark that a pro-Israel lobbying group's influence in Congress is "all about the Benjamins," which was blasted by members of both parties at the time as anti-Semitic.
  • McCarthy also said Schiff "lied to the American public" with his support of the unverified Steele dossier, which alleged extensive ties between former President Trump and Russia.

The other side: “It is always difficult to take Kevin McCarthy seriously," Schiff spokesperson Lauren French told Axios.

  • "Nevertheless, allowing McCarthy to get anywhere near the Speaker’s gavel would be catastrophic — not just because of his propensity for falsehoods and smears, but because he will exist solely to do Donald Trump’s bidding — even potentially overturning the 2024 results.”
  • Swalwell's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but he responded to McCarthy on Twitter: "McCarthy is targeting me for 1 reason: I’m effective. He wants to carry water (& sort Starbursts) for Trump’s Big Lie & not be called out. He’s projecting onto me b/c he’s incapable of facing down the Ku Klux Klan elements in his caucus. If he thinks he’s silencing me, he’s not."
  • A spokesperson for Omar declined to comment.

Editor's note: This post was updated to include a tweet from Rep. Eric Swalwell.

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