On Monday night, Rep. Nancy Mace told reporters she would oppose a measure kicking Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar off the House Foreign Affairs Committee. With several other Republicans voicing concerns over the move and some absences this week, the push would be an early test of the Republican whip operation in a slim majority.
Pressure from Republican leaders began building on Mace quickly: As he walked by while Mace spoke to reporters, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise quipped that “after she and I talk,” Mace’s vote might change. Mace brushed off that possibility: “Ha ha, yeah, okay,” she responded to Scalise in an interview with Mychael Schnell of The Hill. “No.”
But the measure ultimately passed with two votes to spare Thursday with Mace’s support. The showdown—and behind-the-scenes deal Mace cut with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy—show how the tight Republican majority is forcing GOP leaders to the negotiating table to advance their agenda.
Republican leaders planned to remove Omar from Foreign Affairs because of antisemitic comments she made in 2019. It was also, in part, a response to Democrats: When they controlled the House in the last Congress, Democratic leaders moved to boot GOP Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar from their committees for their own controversial statements, a departure from party leaders policing their own members.