Some House Republicans have broken with Speaker Kevin McCarthy over plans to oust Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar, Adam B. Schiff and Eric Swalwell from committees.
Mr. McCarthy, California Republican, promised to punish those three lawmakers in retaliation for the Democrats in the last Congress removing Republican Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona from committees.
“Two wrongs do not make a right,” said Rep. Victoria Spartz, Indiana Republican and member of the Freedom Caucus.
She called on Mr. McCarthy to “stop ‘bread and circuses’ in Congress and start governing for a change.”
Rep. Nancy Mace, South Carolina Republican, also came out against blocking Ms. Omar and the two California Democrats from being seated on their respective committees.
“I’m going to treat everybody equally. I want to be consistent on it,” Ms. Mace, who voted against stripping Mrs. Greene and Mr. Gosar from committees in 2021, told CNN.
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Democrats said Mrs. Greene and Mr. Gosar deserved to be removed from committees because of incendiary rhetoric, including on social media, that they said threatened violence against lawmakers.
The defections by Ms. Spartz and Ms. Mace, though not yet enough to sink the planned committee ousters, highlight the difficulty facing Mr. McCarthy and the GOP conference in advancing anything with their narrow five-seat majority.
However, the only move that requires a full House vote is the removal of Ms. Omar of Minnesota from her seat on the Foreign Affairs Committee. Mr. McCarthy can unilaterally kick Mr. Schiff and Mr. Swalwell off the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence because of its designation as a select committee.
Because removing Ms. Omar from her committee will require a vote of the entire chamber and Democrats will not support it, Mr. McCarthy cannot lose more than four GOP votes.
Republicans want to eject Ms. Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee because of her past antisemitic and anti-Israel rhetoric.
In support of removing Mr. Schiff, the speaker has cited Mr. Schiff‘s political partisanship on the panel and his championing of the Steele dossier’s now-debunked allegations about former President Donald Trump and Russia.
Mr. Swalwell had close relations with a Chinese spy, with whom he later cut ties after federal investigators informed him of the espionage link.
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, New York Democrat, last week formally nominated Mr. Swalwell and Mr. Schiff, both of California, for the intelligence committee. He is expected to nominate Ms. Omar to the Foreign Affairs panel.