Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is charging ahead with his plan to create a bipartisan House task force designed to lay out ground rules for booting lawmakers from their committee seats, the Speaker’s office confirmed Friday.
Republicans named to the panel will be Reps. Nancy Mace (S.C.), David Joyce (Ohio), Ken Buck (Colo.) and Tom Cole (Okla.), who chairs the Rules Committee, his office said.
The plan, first reported Friday by The Washington Post, also has buy-in from House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), who has reportedly named Democratic Reps. Jim McGovern (Mass.), Derek Kilmer (Wash.), Veronica Escobar (Texas) and Nikema Williams (Ga.) to the panel.
McCarthy had vowed to establish such a bipartisan panel after Republicans voted last month to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) from her spot on the House Foreign Affairs Committee for her past criticisms of Israel.
Separately, McCarthy had also blocked Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) from sitting on the Intelligence Committee — a move the Speaker was able to accomplish unilaterally because of that panel’s unique nature as a select committee.
Those moves drew howls of protest from Democrats, who accused McCarthy of abusing his powers, and even some Republicans had balked at the idea, saying the majority party should not have veto authority over the committee assignments of the minority.
In response to the criticisms, McCarthy said he would form a bipartisan panel to establish guidelines for removing lawmakers from their committee seats.
The contentious debate over committee assignments began in 2021, when the Democratic majority removed a pair of Republicans — Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.) and Paul Gosar (Ariz.) — from their committee seats for endorsing violence against Democratic colleagues.
McCarthy’s decision to remove Omar, and block Schiff and Swalwell, was widely seen as a direct response to the Greene and Gosar evictions, though he laid out various reasons for the move.