House passes anti-hate measure amid Dem tensions

The House passed a measure broadly condemning anti-Semitism and other forms of hatred on Thursday after remarks by Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarGroups, lawmakers use 4/20 to raise awareness about marijuana sentencing reform Ocasio-Cortez plans visit to Kentucky despite being disinvited by GOP colleague Man arrested for threatening Dems, citing Omar comments MORE (D-Minn.) unleashed a torrent of debate in the Democratic caucus, underlining tensions in the party.

The measure condemning "anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism, and other forms of bigotry" easily passed the lower chamber in a vote of 407-23.

ADVERTISEMENT

Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyRep. Cheney: Socialism 'driving the agenda of the Democratic Party' Dem lawmaker offers tool for 'filling in the blanks' of Green New Deal Judd Gregg: In praise of Mike Enzi MORE (Wyo.), the third-ranking House GOP leader, joined nearly two dozen other Republicans in voting against the measure. Reps. Lee ZeldinLee ZeldinCo-founder of Israel boycott movement denied entry to US: report GOP to launch discharge petition on anti-BDS measure Stacey Abrams says Stephen Miller shows 'vestiges of white nationalism' MORE (N.Y.) and Louie GohmertLouis (Louie) Buller GohmertHillicon Valley: Facebook, Google face tough questions on white nationalism | Nielsen's exit raisers cyber worries | McConnell calls net neutrality bill 'dead on arrival' | Facebook changes terms for EU data Republicans offer 'free market alternative' to paid family leave YouTube shuts down comments on House hearing on white nationalism over hateful remarks MORE (Texas), who also voted against it, had delivered floor speeches lamenting that the language in the bill had been watered down to the point of taking away attention from Omar's remarks.

The vote had been delayed earlier in the week as Democrats fought over what should be included in the measure, with additional tweaks to the text being made as late as Thursday afternoon.

Lawmakers passed the resolution amid flaring tensions over comments by Omar widely panned as anti-Semitic because they appeared to question whether people advocating for Israel were more loyal to that country than the United States.

The House-passed measure did not specifically mention the freshman congresswoman by name.

While critics argued Omar should have been directly named in the resolution, a number of progressives and members of key minority caucuses stood by her this week, balking at the suggestion she be singled out and calling for the language to be broadened to include the condemnation of other forms of bigotry.

The final version of the resolution “encourages all public officials to confront the reality of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism, and other forms of bigotry, as well as historical struggles against them, to ensure that the United States will live up to the transcendent principles of tolerance, religious freedom, and equal protection as embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the first and 14th amendments to the Constitution.”

It also includes language condemning Japanese internment camps in World War II, the century-old Dreyfus affair in France, former President Kennedy being questioned over Catholicism and the white supremacist events in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017.

Democrats made a last-minute change Thursday to add Latinos, Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders, and the LGBT community to the list of "traditionally persecuted peoples" targeted by white supremacists. The previous version unveiled earlier in the day only included "African-Americans, Native Americans, and other people of color, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, immigrants, and others."

The measure was brought to the floor a week after Omar sparked renewed controversy with remarks about Israel that members of her own party, including a number of presidential candidates, condemned.

"I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country,” she said during a forum last week.

Reporters twice tried to approach Omar in the halls outside the House chamber after the vote Thursday for her reaction. At one point, fellow Muslim Rep. Andre CarsonAndré CarsonHouse passes anti-hate measure amid Dem tensions Is the collusion theory dead? Religious affiliation in new Congress under-represents US population, poll finds MORE (D-Ind.) protectively put his arm around her.

But Omar did not utter a single word in response to any questions. 

While the measure that passed Thursday received broad support on the floor, a handful of lawmakers voiced disappointment that the measure didn't solely condemn anti-Semitic remarks, which spurred the creation of the resolution.

The lawmakers, including several Jewish Democrats, made the case that anti-Semitism is a serious enough issue to warrant a stand-alone bill.

"Why are we unable to singularly condemn anti-Semitism?" Rep. Ted DeutchTheodore (Ted) Eliot DeutchCongress won't get Mueller report until after Barr press conference Deutch in fiery address rips GOP over seeking to make Israel 'wedge issue' House ignores Trump veto threat, approves bill ending US support for Yemen war MORE (D-Fla.) said on the floor earlier in the day. "Why can't we call it anti-Semitism and show we've learned the lessons of history?”

Rep. Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelDem House chairs: Mueller report 'does not exonerate the president' Live coverage: Frenzy in DC as Congress, White House brace for Mueller report House Dems demand Barr cancel 'inappropriate' press conference on Mueller report MORE (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said on the floor shortly before the vote Thursday evening that Omar's comments "touched a very real, very raw place for me."

"And my desire for the House to go on record again specifically condemning anti-Semitism wasn't a desire to single the gentlewoman out or to stifle debate on U.S. policy toward Israel," Engel said. "But it was a desire and need to say that certain words, no matter who utters them, have no place in our public discourse and indeed can be very dangerous."

House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerDemocrats leave impeachment on the table House Dem dismisses impeachment push: 'I'd rather defeat' Trump at ballot box Democrats renew attacks on Trump attorney general MORE (D-Md.) said it was critical that lawmakers condemn rhetoric accusing supporters of Israel of dual allegiance, but said he also felt it was important to come out against other forms of discrimination.

"Accusations that Jews bear dual allegiance because of support for Israel or concerns for its safety are false and they are also hurtful. Comments that must be exposed for what they are — bigotry. They elicit fear and uncertainty in the individuals and communities they target," he said on the floor ahead of the vote. "In much the same way, we have also seen vile examples of hatred aimed at painting Muslim Americans as somehow disloyal to our nation, or not fully belonging, causing similar feel offings insecurity and distress."

Other lawmakers questioned why it took a week to craft the resolution coming out against the inflammatory comments from Omar.

"I am here with my friend from New York debating a resolution that all of us should have learned in kindergarten. 'Be nice. Don't hate,' " Rep. Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsDemocrats renew attacks on Trump attorney general Judiciary chairman issues subpoena for full Mueller report Judiciary Republican: Nadler 'only person trying to spin' Mueller report MORE (R-Ga.), the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, said on the floor.

"This resolution doesn't need to be seven pages — It's just wordy," he said, noting that he supported the bill. "We don't need to hate. It doesn't matter where it comes from."

In addition to Cheney, Zeldin and Gohmert, Republicans who voted against the bill included: Reps. Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Mo BrooksMorris (Mo) Jackson BrooksGOP leaders dead set against Roy Moore in Alabama Poll: Roy Moore leading Alabama GOP field Alabama Holocaust Commission condemns GOP lawmaker's use of Hitler phrase 'big lie' MORE (Ala.), Ken BuckKenneth (Ken) Robert BuckRepublicans offer 'free market alternative' to paid family leave The 23 Republicans who voted against the anti-hate resolution House passes anti-hate measure amid Dem tensions MORE (Colo.), Ted BuddTheodore (Ted) Paul BuddGOP's Tillis comes under pressure for taking on Trump The 23 Republicans who voted against the anti-hate resolution House passes anti-hate measure amid Dem tensions MORE (N.C.), Michael BurgessMichael Clifton BurgessOvernight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Sanders to roll out 'Medicare for all' bill | Dems target Juul over Altria ties | Measles cases spike nationwide GOP rep who supports lowering voting age: 'It's on us' if 16-year-olds vote Democratic Divisions emerge over House drug price bills MORE (Texas), Chris CollinsChristopher (Chris) Carl CollinsFEC filing: No individuals donated to indicted GOP rep this cycle McCarthy holds courtesy meeting with ex-Rep. Grimm Seven Republicans vote against naming post office after ex-Rep. Louise Slaughter MORE (N.Y.), Mike ConawayKenneth (Mike) Michael ConawayDems ramp up subpoena threats GOP zeroes in on Schiff Pelosi rushes to Schiff's defense MORE (Texas), Rick CrawfordRichard (Rick) CrawfordThe 23 Republicans who voted against the anti-hate resolution House passes anti-hate measure amid Dem tensions GOP announces members who will serve on House intel panel MORE (Ark.), Jeff DuncanJeffrey (Jeff) Darren DuncanOvernight Defense: NATO chief urges US to support alliance on its 70th anniversary | Turkey rebuffs Pentagon pressure over Russia deal | Rand Paul, liberals team up to push Trump on Syria withdrawal Rand Paul teams up with Ocasio-Cortez, Omar to press Trump on Syria withdrawal House conservatives ask Trump to declassify documents underlying Mueller investigation MORE (S.C.), Paul GosarPaul Anthony GosarRepublicans offer 'free market alternative' to paid family leave GOP lawmaker attacks critic as 'a little bitch' on Twitter Overnight Defense: NATO chief urges US to support alliance on its 70th anniversary | Turkey rebuffs Pentagon pressure over Russia deal | Rand Paul, liberals team up to push Trump on Syria withdrawal MORE (Ariz.), Tom GravesJohn (Tom) Thomas GravesMnuchin tells Congress it's 'premature' to talk about Trump tax returns decision Live coverage: Barr faces House panel amid questions over Mueller report Overnight Defense: Dem chair rejects Pentagon request to use B for border wall | House fails to override Trump veto | Pelosi at AIPAC vows Israel won't be 'wedge issue' MORE (Ga.), Peter King (N.Y.), Doug LaMalfaDouglas (Doug) LaMalfaThe 23 Republicans who voted against the anti-hate resolution House passes anti-hate measure amid Dem tensions Overnight Energy: Trump threatens to stop FEMA funding for California fire relief | Wheeler officially nominated to be EPA head | Wildlife refuges to get staff during shutdown MORE (Calif.), Thomas MassieThomas Harold MassieGOP lawmaker doubles down on criticizing Kerry's political science degree as not 'science' John Kerry fires back at GOP congressman questioning his 'pseudoscience' degree Overnight Energy: John Kerry hits Trump over climate change at hearing | Defends Ocasio-Cortez from GOP attacks | Dems grill EPA chief over auto emissions rollback plan MORE (Ky.), Steven PalazzoSteven McCarty PalazzoThe 23 Republicans who voted against the anti-hate resolution House passes anti-hate measure amid Dem tensions No GOP appetite for a second shutdown MORE (Miss.), Mike RogersMichael (Mike) Dennis RogersTop Armed Services Republican: 'I don't think anybody is satisfied' with Space Force proposal Lawmakers press tech companies on efforts to combat extremism online Space bureaucracy should not slow America down against competitors MORE (Ala.), Chip RoyCharles (Chip) Eugene RoyDCCC opens Texas office to protect House pickups, target vulnerable GOP seats Wendy Davis thinking of running for Texas congressional seat Seven Republicans vote against naming post office after ex-Rep. Louise Slaughter MORE (Texas), Greg SteubeWilliam (Greg) Gregory SteubeRoger Stone threatens to aid primary challenge against freshman GOP lawmaker The 23 Republicans who voted against the anti-hate resolution House passes anti-hate measure amid Dem tensions MORE (Fla.), Mark WalkerBradley (Mark) Mark WalkerMembers spar over sexual harassment training deadline Colorado state senators plan to introduce bill to let NCAA athletes get paid Republicans offer 'free market alternative' to paid family leave MORE (N.C.) and Ted YohoTheodore (Ted) Scott YohoSecrecy behind Saudi nuclear talks infuriates Congress Congress can finally ensure horses are not tortured for ribbons and prizes Trump's decision on health care law puts spotlight on Mulvaney MORE (Fla.).

By bringing the bill to the floor Thursday, Democratic leaders were able to tamp down the possibility of Republicans further highlighting divisions in the Democratic caucus by using a procedural motion on a landmark election reform bill scheduled for a vote Friday.

As it stands, that bill — designated as H.R. 1 to underscore its importance — has largely been overshadowed all week by the controversy surrounding Omar.

GOP lawmakers — who managed to overwhelmingly pass a motion to recommit that amended a resolution on Yemen to include language condemning anti-Semitism earlier this year in response to a separate incident involving Omar — called for Democrats to take a harder line with the freshman representative.

Top Republicans including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyWatchdog: Custodial staff alleged sexual harassment in lawmakers' offices John Legend, Chrissy Teigen lash out at Trump at Dem retreat Republicans call for ex-Trump lawyer Cohen to be referred to DOJ MORE (Calif.), Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph Scalise20 years after Columbine, Dems bullish on gun reform GOP to launch discharge petition on anti-BDS measure This week: Democrats revive net neutrality fight MORE (La.) and Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney (Wyo.) argued Democrats should have responded in a similar fashion to how they penalized Rep. Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingThe Hill's Morning Report — Combative Trump aims at Pelosi before Russia report Steve King's campaign spent more than it raised last quarter It's time for a 'Congressional Jewish Caucus' MORE (R-Iowa) following his controversial remarks on white supremacy.

King was removed from his committee assignments after his remarks. He voted "present" on the resolution Thursday.

“The real issue is why does [Speaker Nancy] Pelosi [D-Calif.] continue to allow Omar to serve on the Foreign Affairs Committee? If Pelosi is truly against the anti-Semitic comments that Omar continues to make, then she needs to remove her from the Foreign Affairs Committee,” Scalise told reporters Wednesday.  

“And that's the only real action that will prove that she's willing to stand up to that kind of offensive behavior," he said.

But Democratic leaders have asserted they don’t believe likening King and Omar is a fair comparison.

"I don't believe it was intended in an anti-Semitic way. But the fact is if that's how it was interpreted, we have to remove all doubt," Pelosi told reporters on Thursday.

– Cristina Marcos contributed reporting

Updated: 6:30 p.m.