House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Sunday promised to remove some lawmakers from the committees they currently serve if he becomes the new Speaker of the House.
During an interview on Fox News Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo, McCarthy was asked if he planned to keep his promise to remove some Democrats from their roles if he was elected as the next speaker.
Bartiromo was referring to California Representatives Eric Swalwell and Adam Schiff, who sit on the House Standing Select Committee on Intelligence, and Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar, who sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“I will keep that promise,” said the California Republican.
“One thing I’ve said from the start, Eric Swalwell can’t get a security clearance in the public sector. Why would we ever give him a secret security clearance to America so I won’t let him work at Intel,” McCarthy said.
Swalwell was investigated by some Republicans after reports that he was being targeted by a suspected Chinese intelligence agent seeking to establish contacts with U.S. politicians. According to The Hill, the Democratic lawmaker has not been charged with any wrongdoing.
Meanwhile, in 2019, former White House speechwriter Marc Thiessen supposedly said that then-President Donald Trump should “consider withdrawing security clearances for members of Congress,” including Schiff and Swalwell, because they “openly lied to the American people.”
Swalwell pushed off and tweeted at that time, “I don’t have a security clearance. I am an elected member of Congress from a SEPARATE BUT EQUAL branch of government. Sorry @marcthiessen (&@realDonaldTrump), we don’t live in a kingdom. I will not be silenced.”
On Sunday, McCarthy added: “You have Adam Schiff who has lied to the American public again and again. Nor will we allow him to be on the Intel Committee.” The House Minority Leader was referring to Schiff’s alleged endorsement of the Steele dossier, also known as the Trump-Russia dossier, which Axios alleged allegedly linked the former president to Russia.
McCarthy also said during his Fox News appearance that Omar would not be allowed to sit on the Foreign Relations Committee because of her remarks about Israel, which he described as “anti-Semitic”.
Omar has repeatedly faced backlash for her comments about Israel. In one of her tweets, which has now been deleted, Omar suggested that political support for the country relies on donations from pro-Israel lobby groups such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), according to Axios.
McCarthy tweeted on Saturday: “Last year I promised that when I became chairman I would remove Congresswoman Ilhan Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee based on her repeated anti-Semitic and anti-American remarks. I keep that promise. “
House of Representatives recently voted 188-31 in a secret ballot nominate McCarthy as Speaker of the House of Representatives because the GOP barely took control of the House in this year’s midterm elections.
Can the Speaker of the House of Representatives remove a member of the Committee?
Twitter added a text box with additional context under McCarthy’s Saturday tweet, noting that “The speaker does not have the authority to remove a member from the standing committee. Foreign Affairs is a standing committee” and that a majority vote of the entire House is needed to do so.
“The President may remove Members, Delegates or a Residents Commissioner or appoint additional Members, Delegates or a Residents Commissioner to a Select or Conference Committee,” the House Administration Committee wrote on its website.
Daniel Schuman, director of policy at Demand Progress, said Newsweek on Sunday that with House Republicans in the majority, they will dominate the Rules Committee and “can control what measures are considered on the floor and stop measures they don’t like.”
“So it’s likely that the new chairman McCarthy, by himself or by reflecting his party’s interests, will be able to avoid appointing anyone he doesn’t like to any standing committee,” Schuman said, but added that “removing committee members requires a majority vote in the House, that the new Republicans would probably win.”
Under the rules of the 117th Congress, the speaker also has the exclusive authority to appoint members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which includes Swalwell and Schiff. However, it is still unclear whether this rule will remain in the 118th Congress.
“However, it is likely that the marshal will not name the members of the commission that he does not want there,” Schuman said. “The practice is for the minority to choose their members, but it looks like McCarthy will not honor this practice.”
McCarthy and several other Republicans prepared a program to be implemented in the event they won the House of Representatives, including numerous investigations into the administration of President Joe Biden.
“We will not predetermine what will happen. The most important promise we make to the American public is that we will get to the bottom of the truth. obey the law whatever we have to do,” McCarthy told The Daily Caller earlier this month.
Newsweek asked the press offices of the House Administration Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee for comment.
Update [11/20/2022] 16:50 ET: Story updated with Daniel Schuman’s comments.
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