House Dem Leaders Mulling Response to Boebert-Omar Feud as 'Squad' Wants Blood - Report

© REUTERS / ELIZABETH FRANTZU.S. Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) reacts as she speaks during a news conference addressing the anti-Muslim comments made by Representative Lauren Boebert (R-CO) towards Omar, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., November 30, 2021.
U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) reacts as she speaks during a news conference addressing the anti-Muslim comments made by Representative Lauren Boebert (R-CO) towards Omar, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., November 30, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.12.2021
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Last month, Boebert flatly joked about the appearance of Omar, who is a Muslim, in the Capitol elevator. Although she apologized to "anyone in the Muslim community" she could have insulted, Omar has called her coworker a "buffoon" and pushed for Boebert's committee assignments to be removed.
House Democratic leaders are considering multiple alternatives to respond to Republican Representative Lauren Boebert's contentious statements regarding fellow congresswoman Ilhan Omar, all of which fall short of progressive expectations, Politico reported on Wednesday.
According to the outlet, quoting insiders, party leaders are considering referring Boebert to the House Ethics Committee or bringing up a bill to combat Islamophobia to deal with the Colorado conservative's controversial public statements.
Indeed, that may not be enough to appease progressives, including the party's "Squad," of which Omar is a member, who want Democrats to act tough and introduced legislation on Wednesday to remove Boebert from her committees altogether.
"It's simple. If you threaten or incite racist rhetoric against a colleague in Congress, you should not get to sit on committees," said the group's informal leader, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who also took the stand during the progressive's news conference demanding punishment for Boebert.
According to the report, however, Boebert's case is putting Democratic leaders in a tight spot. They reportedly do not want her Islamophobic remarks about Omar to go unanswered but have struggled to explain to their members why Boebert's behavior is different from Republican Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona, who lost his committee assignments after posting an anime video depicting Ocasio-Cortez's assassination.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia was the first member of the House to be removed from committee seats this year, and Gosar was the second.
Politico suggested based on the insiders' accounts that Democratic leaders, on the other hand, want House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to police his own conference and are wary of setting a precedent that they must respond to every offensive statement made by the GOP's right-wing.
According to a source cited in the report, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has privately told Omar that removing committees is still on the table, though some senior Democrats do not believe it is likely Pelosi will do so.
In her turn, Omar has already expressed confidence in Pelosi's decision to oppose Boebert.
U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) attends a news conference addressing the anti-Muslim comments made by Representative Lauren Boebert (R-CO) towards Omar, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., November 30, 2021.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 06.12.2021
Omar Confident Speaker Pelosi Will Take Action Against Boebert's Anti-Muslim Remarks
Republican lawmakers, however, have reportedly stated that the situation has been resolved since it occurred just before Thanksgiving a few weeks ago.
"When a member apologizes, I think you ought to respect and appreciate that," Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana is quoted in the report as saying earlier in the day.
But according to the Democrats calling for Boebert to be punished, the direct phone call between the Colorado congresswoman and Omar ended with Boebert demanding a reciprocal apology from her offended colleague.
And according to the outlet's sources, the ongoing uproar within the Democratic Party over Boebert's comments is an example of long-simmering conflicts between party moderates and progressives erupting. And even voting for a resolution condemning Islamophobia reportedly makes some Democrats uneasy, given that Republicans are certain to bring up Omar's own history of contentious remarks, including those that have been labeled anti-Semitic.
The latest round of the dispute is seen by moderates as a diversion from their agenda, as even Pelosi allegedly expressed her displeasure with the situation in a secret caucus meeting on Wednesday morning, adding that the majority of reporters' inquiries that morning were on Boebert and not about "substance."
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