House Democratic Leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) took on Speaker McCarthy by nominating Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell to continue serving on the Intelligence Committee.
Jeffries wrote to McCarthy:
I write today to submit for renomination two eminently qualified legislators to continue their service on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence: Ranking Member Adam Schiff and Representative Eric Swalwell of California. Together, these Members have over two decades of distinguished leadership providing oversight of our nation’s Intelligence Community, in addition to their prosecutorial work in law enforcement prior to serving in Congress.
Appointments to the Intelligence Committee are within the prerogative of the Speaker, in consultation with the Democratic Leader. It is my understanding that you intend to break with the longstanding House tradition of deference to the minority party Intelligence Committee recommendations and deny seats to Ranking Member Schiff and Representative Swalwell. The denial of seats to duly elected Members of the House Democratic Caucus runs counter to the serious and sober mission of the Intelligence Committee.
In the 117th Congress, two Members were removed from their committee assignments after a bipartisan vote of the House found them unfit to serve on standing committees for directly inciting violence against their colleagues. This action was taken by both Democrats and Republicans given the seriousness of the conduct involved, particularly in the aftermath of a violent insurrection and attack on the Capitol. It does not serve as precedent or justification for the removal of Representatives Schiff and Swalwell, given that they have never exhibited violent thoughts or behavior.
At the same time that Republicans have threatened to deny seats on the Intelligence Committee to clearly qualified Democratic members, serial fraudster George Santos has been placed on two standing committees of the House and welcomed into your conference. The apparent double standard risks undermining the spirit of bipartisan cooperation that is so desperately needed in Congress.
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Good for Leader Jeffries for not letting McCarthy’s hypocrisy on Santos pass. It was also important to note that McCarthy restored committee assignments to Reps. Gosar and Greene after they were taken away in the last Congress through a bipartisan vote.
Jeffries is challenging McCarthy to put the Schiff and Swalwell committee appointments on the floor. If the assignments are put up for a vote, the odds are that McCarthy could lose that vote because the two Democrats have done nothing wrong.
Schiff is being punished for leading Trump’s first impeachment, and Swalwell is being punished for suing Trump over the 1/6 attack.
Democrats do not have a ton of power in the House, but with such a slight Republican majority, they can make life very difficult for Kevin McCarthy.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association