House Republicans plan to vote as soon as Wednesday to expel Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., from the Foreign Affairs Committee for what they say are her past anti-Semitic comments, marking an escalation in a long-lasting battle. between parties on committee assignments.

Chairman Kevin McCarthy and his leadership team had seen a handful of Republican defections that threatened to derail their push to impeach Omar, given their slim majority.

But on Tuesday, one of the vocal defectors, Rep. Victoria Spartz, R-Ind., switched her vote to yes after meeting with McCarthy and securing language in Omar’s resolution that would give lawmakers a chance to appeal the removal of committees.

“People have to be able to appeal the proceedings, have the right to defend themselves. … Otherwise, we will become a tyranny of the majority,” Spartz said in an interview.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in Washington on Tuesday. Saúl Loeb / AFP – Getty Images

Both McCarthy and Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., said they were confident they had the votes to oust Omar, even as two Republicans, Reps. Nancy Mace of South Carolina and Ken Buck of Colorado, said they taking such action was inappropriate and that they would vote no.

On Tuesday night, Republicans prepared for a vote, with the Rules Committee voting 9-4 along party lines to send the resolution to remove Omar to the full House.

Omar, a Somali refugee and one of the first two Muslim American women to serve in Congress, has been a fierce critic of Israel and Jewish lobbies. The four-page resolution details specific comments Omar made in 2019, when she tweeted that the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee and other Jewish donors were paying politicians to back Israel, saying: «It’s all about the baby.» Benjamins”.

The Democratic leadership issued a statement denouncing his comments, with then-Chairman of Foreign Affairs Eliot Engel, DN.Y., saying that Omar had invoked «a vile anti-Semitic slur.» Omar apologized, but other comments he’s made about Israel since then have also angered some in his party.

He resolutionIntroduced by freshman Rep. Max Miller, R-Ohio, a former Trump White House aide who is Jewish, states: «Congresswoman Omar clearly cannot make objective decisions in the Foreign Affairs Committee because of her biases against Israel. and against the Jews.» people.»

But Omar, a member of the «Squad» of progressive women of color, is not backing down.

“There is nothing objectively certain in this resolution. Everything is perceived and full of pretexts”, replied Omar in a cheep. “Also, if not being objective is a reason not to serve on committees, no one would be on committees. We vote our districts. This censorship really underscores their true intentions.”

The vote to oust Omar marks just the latest development in a tit-for-tat between Democrats and Republicans over committee assignments.

It began in 2021, when House Democrats and 11 Republicans voted to expel far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia Republican, from two committees for previous social media posts that spread dangerous and racist conspiracy theories. . Democrats called the vote after Republican leaders refused to take action against it.

Months later, Democrats moved to censure and expel Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., from his two committees after he tweeted an animated video showing him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, DN.Y., and attacking to President Joe Biden.

Republican leaders complained that the Democrats had set a precedent they would soon regret. When Republicans regained control of the House in January, they moved to reinstate Greene and Gosar on their committees.

McCarthy also blocked two of Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries’s picks for the Intelligence Committee: former Chairman Adam Schiff and Rep. Eric Swalwell, both Democrats from California, who played key roles in Trump’s impeachment.

At the same time, Republicans handed out two committee assignments to embattled freshman Rep. George Santos, RN.Y., who is facing numerous investigations and calls from his own party to resign after admitting he fabricated and embellished parts of his resume and biography.

But on Tuesday, Santos told his colleagues that he would refrain from serving on the committees until the investigations are resolved so as not to be a distraction to his party.

pressed on On the Omar issue, McCarthy said Tuesday that he had no problem with Democrats appointing her to other panels that don’t deal with foreign policy.

“I just think he can serve on other committees,” McCarthy said. «It would be better if the Democrats didn’t put her in the foreign affairs job.»

haley talbot, kyle stewart Y Garrett Haake contributed.