McCarthy blocks Schiff, Swalwell from House Intelligence Committee

"In order to maintain a standard worthy of this committee’s responsibilities, I am hereby rejecting the appointments of Representative Adam Schiff and Representative Eric Swalwell to serve on the Intelligence Committee."
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House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Jan. 7, 2023
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House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday made good on his pledge to block California Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell from sitting on the House Intelligence Committee.

Special rules for the House panel allow the Speaker to unilaterally halt the seating of lawmakers without a full floor vote. McCarthy informed House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries of his decision in a Tuesday letter.

"In order to maintain a standard worthy of this committee's responsibilities, I am hereby rejecting the appointments of Representative Adam Schiff and Representative Eric Swalwell to serve on the Intelligence Committee," he wrote, according to The Hill.

The House Speaker previously indicated he would make such a move. Swalwell has come under fire for his ties to and rumored romantic liaison with an alleged Chinese spy. Schiff, meanwhile, earned Republican ire as a vocal proponent of the Trump-Russia collusion hoax and an impeachment manager during the first impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump.

"Swalwell can't get a security clearance in the private sector. I'm not going to give him a government security clearance. Schiff has lied too many times to the American public. He should not be on Intel," McCarthy told Punchbowl News earlier in January. He has also vowed to keep Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar off of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, though that action will require a full House vote.

A member of the far-left "Squad," Omar has drawn scrutiny for her criticisms of Israel and her tendency toward seemingly anti-Semitic comments.

Some have accused McCarthy of seeking revenge for the Democrats' ouster of Republican Reps. Paul Gosar, Ariz., and Marjorie Taylor Greene, Ga., from their committee posts in the last Congress over unrelated issues. 

Indiana GOP Rep. Victoria Spartz on Tuesday announced that she would not support McCarthy's effort to keep Omar off the panel.

"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 wrote in a statement. "Speaker McCarthy is taking unprecedented actions this Congress to deny some committee assignments to the Minority without proper due process again."

There are 222 Republicans in the House, with 218 making a majority. Even with Spartz's opposition, McCarthy is still likely to succeed in the effort. Spartz voted present during several rounds of the House leadership contest that saw McCarthy claim the gavel.