Embattled GOP Rep. Santos undecided on booting Ilhan Omar from Foreign Affairs Committee

Republican South Carolina Rep. Nancy Mace also remains undecided on booting Omar.

Published: January 25, 2023 8:44pm

Updated: January 25, 2023 9:13pm

New York Republican Rep. George Santos is undecided as to how he will vote with respect to keeping Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar off of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

"That's a good question. I don't know," Santos responded to a question from Business Insider as to his stance on the issue. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has vowed to keep the controversial "Squad" member off the committee, which requires a full vote of Congress.

He previously rejected the nominations of California Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell to sit on the House Intelligence Committee, a move he was able to make unilaterally due to House rules for that panel.

Omar, one of the House's most left-leaning lawmakers, has long been a focal point for Republican ire, given her repeated criticisms of Israel and penchant for making statements that many interpret as anti-Semitic.

Republican South Carolina Rep. Nancy Mace also remains undecided on booting Omar, according to The Hill, presenting McCarthy with limited room for error as he seeks to make good on his pledge. Some Democrats have not yet announced their voting intentions, however, potentially leaving room for bipartisan action.

Indiana Republican Rep. Victoria Spartz announced this week that she would not vote to remove Omar from the panel, while also denouncing Schiff and Swalwell's rejections.

"Two wrongs do not make a right. Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi [D-Calif.] took unprecedented actions last Congress to remove Reps. Greene and Gosar from their committees without proper due process," Spartz said. "Speaker McCarthy is taking unprecedented actions this Congress to deny some committee assignments to the Minority without proper due process again." Spartz voted present during several rounds of the lengthy House leadership contest that saw McCarthy claim the gavel.

McCarthy needs 218 votes for a majority in the lower chamber. Republicans currently hold 222 seats and no votes from Santos and Mace, along with Spartz, would put the vote precariously close to failing.

The House Speaker has resisted calls to demand Santos' resignation, even as he faces backlash from a myriad of scandals, many of which involve embellished or false claims he made about his background while on the campaign trail. Santos backed McCarthy for leadership and a no vote from the New York lawmaker may present a source of strain for the pair's relationship.

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