By Annie Grayer, Melanie Zanona and Sydney Kashiwagi, CNN
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries are creating a bipartisan task force to determine a process to boot members off committees going forward, a source familiar told CNN.
McCarthy is taking the lead in creating it and Jeffries has agreed to name members to it. The list of members who have been tapped for the task force are: GOP Reps. Tom Cole, Nancy Mace, David Joyce and Ken Buck, and Democratic Reps. Jim McGovern, Veronica Escobar, Nikema Williams and Derek Kilmer.
This task force came out of a deal between Mace and McCarthy, in order to get Mace on board to support in booting Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar off of the House Foreign Affairs committee.
Earlier this month, Mace announced she had worked on a deal with congressional leadership to ensure there would be due process going forward on House committee removals.
“Working to protect the Constitution and due process has been a cornerstone of my work in Congress. Speaker Kevin McCarthy made his commitment today that I will lead the effort to amend the House Rules to provide due process and prevent the politicizing of committee removals in the future,” Mace said in a statement at the time.
In early February, the Republican-led House of Representatives voted along party lines to remove Omar from the committee. House Republicans argued Omar should not serve on the panel in light of past statements she had made related to Israel that in some cases had been criticized by members of both parties as antisemitic.
Democrats criticized the push to oust Omar, arguing it amounted to an act of political revenge and that the Minnesota Democrat had been held accountable for her past remarks.
Prior to the vote, however, some Republican members had expressed reluctance to the push to oust Omar from the powerful committee.
The Washington Post was first to report the news about the task force.
The move by Republicans to oust Omar came after Democrats previously removed Republican Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar from committee assignments in 2021 when they controlled the House.
The House approved a resolution to censure and strip Gosar of committee assignments, after the Arizona Republican posted a photoshopped amime video to social media showing him appearing to kill Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and attacking President Joe Biden.
The House voted to remove Greene from her committee assignments following the discovery of incendiary and violent past statements.
McCarthy had vowed that if Republicans won back the House majority, he would strip Reps. Eric Swalwell, Adam Schiff and Omar of committee assignments, arguing that Democrats had created a “new standard” following Gosar and Greene’s oustings.
Following through on his promise, McCarthy denied seats on the House Intelligence Committee to Swalwell and Schiff, the former chairman of the panel.
Gosar and Greene have since been given committee assignments in the new Congress since Republicans won back control of the House.
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