McCarthy pledges to restore Greene, Gosar to committees if GOP wins House

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Thursday that the two Republicans booted from committees this year, Reps. Paul Gosar (Ariz.) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.), would get those seats restored if Republicans win the majority in 2022.

“They’ll have committees,” McCarthy said at a press conference in the Capitol. “They may have other committee assignments. They may have better committee assignments.”

McCarthy also reiterated his threat that a future Republican House majority may remove Democrats from committees as retaliation for the votes this year taking punitive action against Gosar and Greene. 

The House voted Wednesday to censure Gosar and take away his seats on the House Oversight and Reform Committee as well as the Natural Resources Committee for posting an edited anime video that depicted him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and swinging swords at President Biden. Only two Republicans, Reps. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), joined Democrats in supporting the resolution.

And in February, House Democrats — along with 11 Republicans — voted to remove Greene from the House Education and Labor Committee as well as the Budget Committee for her past embrace of conspiracy theories like QAnon and apparent endorsements of violence against Democrats.

Democrats maintained in both cases that they were only establishing a precedent of taking action against House members who endorse political violence.

“Is the inference that I draw from your question that we should have not censured Mr. Gosar for his shameful behavior, for fear of something the Republicans might do in the unlikely case that they might win the Congress?” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday when a reporter asked about the prospect of Republicans removing Democrats from committees if they win the House majority.

“We would not walk away from our responsibilities for fear of something they may do in the future,” Pelosi said.

But McCarthy warned in a House floor speech on Wednesday and again at his press conference on Thursday that Republicans likely won’t have qualms about removing Democrats like Reps. Maxine Waters (Calif.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.) or Eric Swalwell (Calif.) from committees if they are in power.

Republicans only need to flip five seats in next year’s midterm elections to win the House majority.

“Pelosi has set new policies here,” McCarthy said Thursday. “I think the majority is going to have to approve any of those members on the committees in which they can serve.”

None of the Democrats that McCarthy singled out in his House floor speech on Wednesday have appeared to promote violence in the same way as Gosar or Greene. But Republicans have taken issue with past remarks they’ve made.

In April, Republicans forced a procedural vote that was defeated along party lines to censure Waters, the House Financial Services Committee chairwoman, for saying at a protest in Minneapolis, where the George Floyd murder trial was taking place, that “we’ve got to get more confrontational” about police brutality against Black people. The judge presiding over the trial in which the former police officer was eventually sentenced to prison time for Floyd’s murder warned that Waters’s remarks could give the defense “something on appeal that may result in this whole trial being overturned.”

House Democrats have taken some indirect action in response to Omar’s past remarks criticizing Israel, including suggesting that its advocates “push for allegiance to a foreign country.” That led Democrats to pass a resolution in 2019 that broadly condemned antisemitism and other forms of bigotry.

And in late 2020, Axios reported that a suspected Chinese intelligence operative took part in fundraising activity for Swalwell’s 2014 reelection campaign and helped place an intern in his office. The FBI alerted Swalwell around 2015 to concerns about the suspected spy. Swalwell, who has not been accused of any wrongdoing, has said that he then cut off ties with the individual.

Tags Adam Kinzinger Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Eric Swalwell Ilhan Omar Joe Biden Kevin McCarthy Liz Cheney Marjorie Taylor Greene Maxine Waters Nancy Pelosi Paul Gosar

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