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 OmarBiden compares Trump to George Wallace Padma Lakshmi on Trump's handling of 'send her back' chant: 'It's Charlottesville 2.0' Trump defends response to rally chant: I did not 'lead people on' 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 CheneyLiz Cheney calls Ayanna Pressley's comments at Netroots Nation 'racist' Lawmakers introduce bill to block U.S. companies from doing business with Huawei Cheney blasts Ocasio-Cortez over DHS dissolution MORE (Wyo.), the third-ranking House GOP leader, joined nearly two dozen other Republicans in voting against the measure. Reps. Lee ZeldinLee ZeldinNY Republican: Democrats vilifying ICE agents to pander to radical left for votes Bipartisan group of lawmakers invites colleagues to tour DC's Holocaust museum Tlaib blasts Foreign Affairs Committee's anti-BDS bill as 'unconstitutional' MORE (N.Y.) and Louie GohmertLouis (Louie) Buller GohmertJudiciary issues blitz of subpoenas for Kushner, Sessions, Trump associates Conservatives ask Barr to lay out Trump's rationale for census question Gohmert calls Mueller an 'anal opening' ahead of testimony 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 CarsonLawmakers grapple with deepfake threat at hearing House passes anti-hate measure amid Dem tensions Is the collusion theory dead? 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 DeutchBipartisan group of lawmakers invites colleagues to tour DC's Holocaust museum GOP senator presses Instagram, Facebook over alleged bias in content recommendations Overnight Defense: Senate rejects effort to restrict Trump on Iran | Democrats at debate vow to shore up NATO | Senate confirms chief of Space Command 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 EngelAl Green says impeachment is 'only solution' to Trump's rhetoric Mystery surrounds elusive sanctions on Russia Here are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment 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 HoyerThe House Democrats who voted to kill impeachment effort Overnight Defense: House votes to block Trump arms sales to Saudis, setting up likely veto | US officially kicks Turkey out of F-35 program | Pentagon sending 2,100 more troops to border House votes to block Trump's Saudi arms sale 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 Collins3,100 to be released from prison under criminal justice reform law House unravels with rise of 'Les Enfants Terrible' Trump praises GOP unity in opposing resolution condemning tweets 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 BrooksOvernight Defense: Woman accusing general of sexual assault willing to testify | Joint Chiefs pick warns against early Afghan withdrawal | Tensions rise after Iran tries to block British tanker Conservatives ask Barr to lay out Trump's rationale for census question House sends Trump border aid bill after Pelosi caves to pressure from moderates MORE (Ala.), Ken BuckKenneth (Ken) Robert BuckThe 27 Republicans who voted with Democrats to block Trump from taking military action against Iran Biggs, Khanna launch bipartisan War Powers Caucus Woman accuses top US cardinal of mishandling church sexual abuse case MORE (Colo.), Ted BuddTheodore (Ted) Paul BuddConservatives ask Barr to lay out Trump's rationale for census question 58 GOP lawmakers vote against disaster aid bill Blockchain could spark renaissance economy MORE (N.C.), Michael BurgessMichael Clifton BurgessHouse approves bill raising minimum wage to per hour The 27 Republicans who voted with Democrats to block Trump from taking military action against Iran GOP rep: Children are free to leave migrant camps at 'any time' MORE (Texas), Chris CollinsChristopher (Chris) Carl CollinsMichael Caputo eyes congressional bid House ethics panel renews probes into three GOP lawmakers The Hill's Morning Report - Barr stiff-arms House following Senate grilling MORE (N.Y.), Mike ConawayKenneth (Mike) Michael ConawayLobbying world On The Money: House chairman issues subpoenas for Trump's tax returns | Trump touts trade talks as China, US fail to reach deal | Five things to know about Trump's trade war with China | GOP offers support for Trump on tariffs GOP offers support for Trump on China tariffs MORE (Texas), Rick CrawfordRichard (Rick) CrawfordPoliticians cheer USWNT over defeating England, qualifying for World Cup final GOP moves to block provision banning use of Defense funds for border wall House Intel to take first major deep dive into threat of 'deepfakes' MORE (Ark.), Jeff DuncanJeffrey (Jeff) Darren DuncanHouse passes annual intelligence bill Conservatives ask Barr to lay out Trump's rationale for census question House conservatives want information on TSA policies for undocumented immigrants MORE (S.C.), Paul GosarPaul Anthony GosarThe 27 Republicans who voted with Democrats to block Trump from taking military action against Iran Conservatives ask Barr to lay out Trump's rationale for census question House sends Trump border aid bill after Pelosi caves to pressure from moderates MORE (Ariz.), Tom GravesJohn (Tom) Thomas GravesGOP scores procedural win by securing more funding to enforce Iran sanctions Bipartisan bill would enable companies to defend themselves against cyberattacks Republicans spend more than million at Trump properties MORE (Ga.), Peter King (N.Y.), Doug LaMalfaDouglas (Doug) LaMalfaGOP moves to block provision banning use of Defense funds for border wall Rep. Amash stokes talk of campaign against Trump Thirty-four GOP members buck Trump on disaster bill MORE (Calif.), Thomas MassieThomas Harold MassieOvernight Defense: House votes to block Trump arms sales to Saudis, setting up likely veto | US officially kicks Turkey out of F-35 program | Pentagon sending 2,100 more troops to border House votes to block Trump's Saudi arms sale The 27 Republicans who voted with Democrats to block Trump from taking military action against Iran MORE (Ky.), Steven PalazzoSteven McCarty PalazzoGOP moves to block provision banning use of Defense funds for border wall The 23 Republicans who voted against the anti-hate resolution House passes anti-hate measure amid Dem tensions MORE (Miss.), Mike RogersMichael (Mike) Dennis RogersHillicon Valley: Trump rails against 'terrible bias' at White House social media summit | Twitter hit by hour-long outage | Google admits workers listen to smart device recordings Trump officials defend use of facial recognition amid backlash Republicans say they're satisfied with 2020 election security after classified briefings MORE (Ala.), Chip RoyCharles (Chip) Eugene RoyThe Hill's Campaign Report: Second debate lineups set up high-profile clash Democratic staffer says Wendy Davis will run for Congress Democrat grills DHS chief over viral image of drowned migrant and child MORE (Texas), Greg SteubeWilliam (Greg) Gregory Steube58 GOP lawmakers vote against disaster aid bill Roger Stone threatens to aid primary challenge against freshman GOP lawmaker The 23 Republicans who voted against the anti-hate resolution MORE (Fla.), Mark WalkerBradley (Mark) Mark WalkerThe Hill's Morning Report: Trump walks back from 'send her back' chants GOP rattled by Trump rally EU official in Canada says he feels 'at home' there because no one was shouting 'send him back' MORE (N.C.) and Ted YohoTheodore (Ted) Scott YohoThe 27 Republicans who voted with Democrats to block Trump from taking military action against Iran Conservatives ask Barr to lay out Trump's rationale for census question Overnight Defense: Shanahan exit shocks Washington | Pentagon left rudderless | Lawmakers want answers on Mideast troop deployment | Senate could vote on Saudi arms deal this week | Pompeo says Trump doesn't want war with Iran 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 McCarthyThe Hill's Morning Report: Trump walks back from 'send her back' chants History in the House: Congress weathers unprecedented week EU official in Canada says he feels 'at home' there because no one was shouting 'send him back' MORE (Calif.), Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseThe Memo: Fears of violence grow amid Trump race storm Democrats call for increased security after 'send her back' chants Democratic strategist on Trump tweets: 'He's feeding this fear and hate' 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 KingYoung Turks reporter tricks Steve King into tweeting about 'A Few Good Men' villain Holocaust survivor who offered to tour Auschwitz with Ocasio-Cortez calls for her to 'be removed from Congress' Liz Cheney hits back at Ocasio-Cortez over concentration camp comments: 'This isn't model Congress' 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.