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Phillips Backs Omar on Foreign Affairs Committee

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Rep. Dean Phillips (MN-03) released the following statement after Rep. Kevin McCarthy announced his plan to strip Rep. Ilhan Omar (MN-05) of her seat on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. 

“Congresswoman Omar and I have different political perspectives and life experiences, but share a belief in debate, deliberation, and reconciliation. I am, and will always be, a staunch supporter of the nation of Israel, and Rep. Omar has been outspoken in her critiques of the Israeli government. She is a leader in the House Progressive Caucus, and I in the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus. We may not always agree on policy, but we unequivocally agree that in a nation built on the principle of freedom of speech, she should be free to represent her opinions on the Foreign Affairs Committee. Indeed, that is the essence of democracy.

“Rep. Omar has not threatened violence against fellow members of Congress or encouraged an insurrection against her own country. She and I have spoken about the language that has offended many, including me, and she has apologized and ensured it will not happen again.

“In America, diversity is our strength. Public servants in healthy democracies do not exile their political opponents, but rather seek to understand the perspectives of those who eat, think, pray, and vote differently. We practice the kindergarten principle of disagreeing without being disagreeable.

“That’s why the weaponization of anti-Semitism is as dangerous as anti-Semitism itself. Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s actions this week are dangerous and unacceptable. They erode precedent that each party can select members to represent them on committees and threaten the sanctity of the Democratic principles our Congress was formed upon. It’s time to stop the political theatre and get to the serious work of governing for the people.” 

Phillips and Omar have served together on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs since 2019. Minnesota’s Third and Fifth Congressional Districts are the only neighboring districts in America represented by members of the Jewish and Muslim faiths. Phillips delivered a passionate speech on the House Floor as Republicans moved to strip Rep. Omar from the committee: