House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) have agreed to form a bipartisan task force to set a new process for removing lawmakers from their committees, according to reporting from Axios. The formation of a task force represents a step towards ending the back-and-forth between the two parties over committee assignments, which has seen five members of the minority party removed from panels in the last two years.
The agreement between McCarthy and Jeffries comes after House Republicans voted to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from the House Committee on Foreign Affairs based on her antisemitic comments about Israel. While all but one House Republican voted to remove Omar, several GOP members expressed concern that the process lacked “due process.”
McCarthy and Jeffries Form Task Force to Boot Lawmakers from Committees https://t.co/n2IUzvKkdx
— DLW🍊 (@Dlw20161950) February 25, 2023
As a result, McCarthy has decided to move forward with creating a bipartisan task force and has reached out to several members to ask them to serve on it.
Sources have indicated that McCarthy has asked Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) to lead the task force, and Jeffries has coordinated a list of eligible Democrats to join as well.
Jeffries’ picks for the task force are reported to include Reps. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Veronica Escobar (D-TX), Nikema Williams (D-GA), and Derek Kilmer (D-WA), each of whom has or had a role relevant to the task force.
McCarthy has reportedly tabbed Reps. Tom Cole (R-OK), Dave Joyce (R-OH), and Ken Buck (R-CO) for the panel, along with Mace. Cole chairs the House Rules Committee and Joyce serves on the Ethics Committee.
In the past two years, both parties have removed members from committees for their behavior. In 2021, House Democrats removed Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Paul Gosar (R-AZ) from their committee assignments.
Greene was removed from the Budget and Education and Labor Committee after the House accused her of spreading “racist conspiracy theories” on social media.
Gosar was removed from the Oversight and Reform and Natural Resources committees after he posted a satirical video that depicted harm occurring to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Joe Biden.
In addition to removing Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee, McCarthy removed Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif) and Eric Swalwell (D-Calif) from their committees. Democrats claimed the moves were “political vengeance” for Greene and Gosar’s earlier removal from their assignments.
According to a senior GOP aide, the new task force will purportedly work to find a way not to have the process devolve into reprisals every time control of the House flips. It will mark a significant break from the long-standing precedent of party caucuses determining committee assignments internally.