House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday rejected fellow California Reps. Adam B. Schiff and Eric Swalwell from continuing to serve on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
The denial follows through on McCarthy’s pledge to remove Schiff (D-Burbank) and Swalwell (D-Dublin) from the panel in retaliation for a move by Democrats — and some Republicans — in the last Congress to to strip GOP firebrand Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) of their committee assignments.
McCarthy has also vowed to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Under House rule, the speaker has the unilateral authority to keep Schiff and Swalwell off the high-profile select intelligence panel. Removing Omar from a standing committee will require a full floor vote.
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) urged McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) over the weekend “to honor past practice of the House of Representatives and our mutual interest in working together for the good of the American people” by accepting his recommendations for Schiff to serve as the panel’s ranking member and Swalwell to retain his membership.
Jeffries said that removing Greene and Gosar from their committees was no “precedent or justification” for removing Schiff and Swalwell.
Greene was removed in February 2021 following a backlash over comments she made before taking office expressing support for baseless conspiracy theories and appearing to endorse violence against Democratic lawmakers. She later distanced herself from the comments
Gosar faced a similar punishment in November 2021 after posting, and later deleting, a cartoon video with his face superimposed on a character who kills someone with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-N.Y.) face and wields swords against President Biden.
McCarthy said removing Schiff, the lead manager during the first impeachment of President Trump, is justified because Schiff “lied” to the public about certain details related to a whistleblower report that triggered the investigation, and dismissed emails found on a laptop allegedly owned by Hunter Biden as a Russian ploy.
McCarthy has argued that Swalwell couldn’t get a security clearance in the private sector following a report that he was targeted by a suspected Chinese spy, with whom he later cut ties.
In separate letters to the Steering and Policy Committee earlier this month, Schiff and Swalwell maintained that McCarthy has no basis for removing any Democrats from committees and said he shouldn’t do so based on “smears and falsehoods” or “fabricated stories or political revenge.”
But there’s little Democrats can do to reverse his decision.
On Monday, McCarthy said he would add Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Santa Clarita) to the Intelligence committee.
The two party leaders reached agreement over the weekend on committee ratios for the new Congress, and the Republican Steering Committee last week selected Greene and Gosar to serve on the Oversight and Accountability Committee. Greene will also have a seat on the Homeland Security Committee, while Gosar will sit on the Natural Resources Committee.