House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is set to follow through with removing three Democrats from their committee assignments as Republicans lock in control of the lower chamber.
Mr. McCarthy, California Republican, pledged to remove Democrats from their top positions in retaliation for the Democrats removing two Republicans from their committee assignments in the last Congress, such as Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona.
Mr. McCarthy named two Democratic lawmakers last year he would remove from the Intelligence Committee: Reps. Adam B. Schiff and Eric Swalwell of California. He also named Rep. Ilhan Omar, Minnesota Democrat, who serves on the Foreign Affairs Committee, for removal.
Mr. Swalwell is reportedly due to be rotated off his committee, and not all Republicans in the conference may be on board to vote Ms. Omar off her panel assignment.
No one has been assigned to any of those committees yet, but Republicans say they are ready to block their committee assignments should Democrats assign these lawmakers on to these panels again.
“The Democrats set a precedent that we urged them strongly not to go down last Congress. They decided that they were going to break the precedent that had been in place over 200 years and remove members of the opposing party that our party selected to be on committees,” Majority Leader Steve Scalise told reporters Tuesday. “And so that was a practice they set. Obviously, we’re going to be looking very closely at who they appointed.”
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Democrats are still talking with Republicans about the ratio of GOP lawmakers to Democratic members on committees.
“Once we have the ratios, negotiation with the majority will have those ratios and we will populate our committees and we will send the names of who this caucus supports,” California Rep. Pete Aguilar, chairman of the Democratic Caucus, told reporters when asked about Mr. McCarthy’s threat.
“The caucus will advance the nominees and the individuals who we feel best reflect the Democratic caucus or democratic values and have the ability to lead, including ranking membership,” he said.
Mr. McCarthy gave Mr. Schiff’s political partisanship on the panel, his references to the “Steele dossier” and its debunked allegations about former President Donald Trump and Russia as reasons for removal.
Mr. Swalwell had close relations with a Chinese spy, with whom he later cut ties after federal investigators informed him of the espionage link. Ms. Omar made statements that were criticized as antisemitic tropes.