House Democrats unveiled a resolution on Thursday to broadly condemn hate — but then made last-minute additional changes to make sure no one felt left out.
The House had initially been expected to start debating the resolution around 3:15 p.m., but that got pushed back by nearly an hour as Democrats revised their resolution to ensure it made reference to an even wider swath of marginalized groups. A vote is still expected shortly after the debate ends.
The initial text revealed earlier Thursday afternoon stated that white supremacists have targeted “traditionally persecuted peoples, including African Americans, Native Americans, and other people of color, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, immigrants, and others with verbal attacks, incitement, and violence.”
But Democratic leaders later revised that line in the resolution to include Latinos, Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders and the LGBTQ community.
That makes it the third change to publicly circulated text this week to ensure the resolution was as inclusive as possible in condemning hate in the aftermath of controversial comments about Israel from freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).
Omar drew ire from Jewish Democrats like House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) for saying that pro-Israel lobbyists “push for allegiance to a foreign country.” Engel and others accused Omar of invoking an anti-Semitic trope of dual loyalty.
“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,” Omar said at a forum at Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C., last week. “I want to ask, why is it OK for me to talk about the influence of the [National Rifle Association] NRA, of fossil-fuel industries, or Big Pharma, and not talk about a powerful lobby that is influencing policy?”
The originally planned resolution that staffers for Democratic leaders began drafting over the weekend would have only condemned anti-Semitism, though it noted Muslim Americans have faced similar accusations of dual loyalty.
But progressives and members of minority caucuses balked, arguing that the resolution shouldn’t single out Omar and called for a more general anti-hate measure.
Democratic leaders then made changes to more broadly condemn hate, including Islamophobia, in response to the threats Omar has faced as one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress.
The resolution now states that the House “rejects the perpetuation of anti-Semitic stereotypes in the United States and around the world, including the pernicious myth of dual loyalty and foreign allegiance,” as well as “condemns anti-Muslim discrimination and bigotry against all minorities as contrary to the values of the United States.”
The addition of a reference to Latinos comes after Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) criticized the originally planned resolution for imposing a double standard.
“One of the things that is hurtful about the extent to which reprimand is sought of Ilhan is that no one seeks this level of reprimand when members make statements about Latinx + other communities,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.
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