- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 2, 2023

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced Thursday that he and Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries will soon appoint a bipartisan group of lawmakers to write a code of conduct for lawmakers.

The announcement came moments after Republicans voted along party lines to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar, Minnesota Democrat, from the Foreign Affairs Committee for making past antisemitic remarks.

It also comes amid an Ethics Committee investigation of Rep. George Santos, New York Republican, who allegedly fabricated parts of his background during his 2022 campaign. The first-term lawmaker is also under investigation by federal, state and local entities.

Mr. McCarthy said that he and Mr. Jeffries of New York are putting together a group of lawmakers from both parties to discuss how lawmakers should conduct themselves. The speaker mentioned Republican Reps. Nancy Mace of South Carolina and Ken Buck of Colorado as likely choices. 

“And I think what we should do is put into the rules that there is a code of conduct here,” he said, adding that the definition is currently not clear.

“I think moving forward, every single member of Congress has a responsibility as to how they carry themselves,” Mr. McCarthy said. He said leaders have a responsibility to let lawmakers know the standards, as well as “the due process in a bipartisan way that we can deal with it.”

The removal of Ms. Omar from her seat on the Foreign Affairs panel fulfilled a promise by Mr. McCarthy, California Republican, to his party that if the GOP recaptured the House, he would punish Ms. Omar and others in retaliation for Democrats ousting Republican Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona from all of their committee assignments in the last Congress.

The Democratic majority punished the two Republican lawmakers over violent online posts toward Democratic lawmakers. Rep. Greene “liked” such a post threatening then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Mr. Gosar tweeted an animation of himself attacking Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and President Biden.

Ms. Omar, Mr. Gosar and Ms. Greene all have apologized for their past remarks.

“Every single Democrat voted to remove Marjorie Greene on something she said before she ever came to Congress. So they wanted to override what the American people in her district decided,” Mr. McCarthy told reporters. “Then they removed Gosar from every single [committee]. And what did we see when Congress reconvened right now? Gosar, AOC, sitting together having a great conversation.”

• Kerry Picket can be reached at kpicket@washingtontimes.com.

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