Rank-and-File House Democrats Are Rebelling Over the Attack on Ilhan Omar

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Ever since Politico and the Washington Post reported earlier this week that the Democratic House leadership was planning a bewildering resolution to condemn Ilhan Omar after her recent comments about the influence of the Israeli government and its allies on American politics, there’s been an outpouring of support for Omar from the left. Now, according to a new Washington Post story, the resolution might not happen at all.


The vote on the resolution was originally supposed to take place today, but on Tuesday, the New York Times reported that Speaker Nancy Pelosi had told other Democrats that the resolution would include language aimed at anti-Muslim bias as well. For many House Democrats, according to the Post, that apparently wasn’t enough, and in a meeting today, they let Pelosi know it.

From the Post:

Multiple House members stood up to challenge the decision — endorsed by Pelosi and the rest of the House Democratic leadership — to move forward with a resolution condemning religious hatred. Initially the measure targeted only anti-Semitism, with some Democrats pushing for a direct rebuke of Omar, but by Tuesday night — facing backlash from members not on board with the plan — leaders decided to expand it to include anti-Muslim bias.


Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) was among the first members to speak up in the meeting, asking, “Why are we doing this?” She said afterward any resolution would be “redundant and unnecessary.”

“We’ve individually and collectively already responded to the fact that we oppose all ‘-isms’ that do not treat people in this country fairly and justly,” she said. “To continue to engage in this discussion is simply an opportunity to give both the media and Republicans distractions from our agenda. We’ve got important work to do.

Rep. Steny Hoyer, the number two House Democrat, told the Post that a vote on a resolution may not happen this week. But it’s also not clear whether or not it’ll happen at all: the Post reported that both the Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Progressive Caucus are meeting today, and “could take a position opposing any resolution responding to Omar’s remarks.” (Omar is a member of both the CBC and the CPC, and serves as a whip for the CPC.)

Omar was reportedly at the meeting, but did not speak. (We’ve reached out to Omar’s office for comment, and will update with any response we receive.)

Democrats haven’t just clashed behind closed doors over the issue this week. Rep. Ayanna Pressley and fellow Muslim lawmaker Rep. Rashida Tlaib have lent public support to Omar through tweets, while Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took issue with Democratic Rep. Juan Vargas’ tweet on Tuesday asserting that “questioning support for the U.S.-Israeli relationship is unacceptable.”


“She could have come down the hall and asked me what my opinion is. That would have been fine,” Vargas told the Post. “To question someone’s loyalty because they’re Jewish, I think, is terrible. It’s something that we shouldn’t question at all.” (To be clear, this is something that Omar did not do.)

During the meeting, Rep. Jan Schakowsky reportedly gave her fellow Democrats a pretty good bit of advice they’re ever going to get: “Everyone stop tweeting.”


Not entirely sure that’s going to solve all of the caucus’s problems, but I suppose it’s a start.