Battle Brewing Over House Intel, Foreign Affairs Members

Posted 5 days ago

From THEHILL.COM

The head of House Democrats has submitted Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) to sit on the powerful Intelligence Committee, setting up a battle with Republican leaders who are vowing to keep them off the panel.

Separately, Democrats this week are also expected to seat Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, according to a source familiar with the Democrats’ plans, which will likely prompt GOP leaders to hold a floor vote to remove her.

In a letter sent Saturday to Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N. Y.) said Schiff, the top Democrat on the Intelligence panel, and Swalwell are both “eminently qualified” to continue their service on the committee. Jeffries requested that McCarthy seat them there.

“Together, these Members have over two decades of distinguished leadership providing oversight of our nation’s Intelligence Community, in addition to their prosecutorial work in law enforcement prior to serving in Congress,” Jeffries wrote.

The developments were first reported Monday by Punchbowl News.

Unlike most committees, however, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has special rules empowering the Speaker to assign the panel’s members, in consultation with the minority leader. That means McCarthy can also decline to seat members without relying on a full House vote.

Historically, that process has proceeded without controversy and the minority party’s recommendations have been seated. But Republicans have been up in arms since 2021, when Democrats staged successful votes to remove two Republicans — Reps. Marjorie Taylor Green (Ga.) and Paul Gosar (Ariz.) — from their committee assignments. And McCarthy has vowed since then to keep Schiff and Swalwell from returning to the Intelligence panel — a pledge he amplified on Capitol Hill last week.

“What I am doing with the Intel Committee [is] bringing it back to the jurisdiction it’s supposed to do. Forward-looking to keep this country safe, keep the politics out of it,” McCarthy told reporters in the Capitol.

“So yes, I’m doing exactly what we’re supposed to do,” he added.

Schiff, as former chairman of the Intelligence Committee, had led the investigations into former President Trump’s ties to Russia, and Republicans have accused him of lying to the public during the course of those probes.

In Swalwell’s case, Republicans have highlighted his ties to a suspected Chinese spy who had helped fundraise for Swalwell’s 2014 reelection campaign, which were first revealed in 2020. After the FBI informed Swalwell of their concern, he cut ties with the Chinese national and has said McCarthy’s decision to remove him from the Intelligence Committee is “purely vengeance.”... (Read more)