House Republicans Vote Ilhan Omar to Foreign Affairs Committee Just To Kick Her Off the Next Day
Plus: Judge strikes down Super Bowl censorship law, report details how much inflation was driven by stimulus spending, and more...
"They put her on the committee only so they could pass a resolution to vote her off." Republicans are earning lots of headlines—and goodwill from team red—for voting to kick Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar off of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. And like so much of what happens in Congress, we can file this one under Political Stunt.
It's real enough that Republicans don't want Omar on the committee. "We just do not believe when it comes to foreign affairs, especially the responsibility of that position around the world with the comments that you make, she shouldn't serve there," House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R–Calif.) said after yesterday's vote. McCarthy was likely referring to critical comments Omar has made about Israel.
Omar's removal may also be retaliation for Democrats removing Republicans from committees last year, though "McCarthy has denied that ousting Ms. Omar or the other Democrats was retaliation for the last Congress," notes The Wall Street Journal.
But here's the thing: Republicans actually approved Omar's inclusion on the Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday.
Yes, one day before voting her off the committee, they voted her on to it. House Democrats on Wednesday offered a resolution electing various representatives to various committees, including Omar to be on the Foreign Affairs Committee again. The resolution was agreed to with no objection.
"Congress is just political theater," commented former Rep. Justin Amash (L–Mich.) on Twitter. "Republicans themselves approved Ilhan Omar's election to the Foreign Affairs Committee just yesterday in a unanimous consent on the House floor. In other words, they put her on the committee only so they could pass a resolution to vote her off."
Not all House GOP members were thrilled with the stunt, which has led to allegations of discrimination against Omar because she is a black, Muslim woman.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D–N.Y.) called the vote part of "the Republican Party's…racism and incitement of violence against women of color in this body."
"Is anyone surprised that I am being targeted?" Omar said during a floor speech yesterday. "Is anyone surprised that I am somehow deemed unworthy to speak about American foreign policy or that they see me as a powerful voice that needs to be silenced?"
"Who gets to be an American? What opinions do you have to have to be counted as American? That is what this debate is about," Omar said. "There is this idea that you are suspect if you are an immigrant, or if you are from a certain part of the world, of a certain skin tone, or a Muslim."
After the vote, "House Foreign Affairs member Ken Buck, R-Colo., was overheard in an elevator calling it the 'stupidest vote in the world,'" reports Roll Call. "Fellow Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, agreed and added that all it does is make Omar a 'martyr.'"
Super Bowl censorship struck down. An Arizona judge has ruled against a Phoenix law giving the NFL and the Super Bowl Host Committee permission to veto private yard signs in parts of downtown Phoenix.
"The origin of this dispute began on October 12, 2022, when the Phoenix City Council (the "City") adopted Resolution 22073," noted Judge Bradley Astrowsky in his decision, issued yesterday:
The purpose of the resolution was to establish a Special Promotional and Civic Event area in downtown Phoenix to support events and activities related to Super Bowl LVII. This Resolution permitted the use of temporary signs that would ordinarily not be permitted in the downtown area, consistent with Phoenix Zoning Ordinance, Section 705.F.1.b. However, Resolution 22073 added to the ordinary sign approval process the requirement that all temporary signs needed to be authorized by the NFL or the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee ("Host Committee").
The owner of two properties in downtown Phoenix sued, with the help of the Goldwater Institute.
"The ordinance effectively gave for-profit companies the unrestricted power to choose what messages they were willing to allow in a large section of one of the nation's biggest cities," points out the Goldwater Institute. "That's unconstitutional for many reasons. For one thing, the government isn't allowed to give its power away to private parties—something lawyers call 'delegation.' Yet Phoenix was giving the Committee and the NFL the power to decide what signs could be posted.…For another thing, laws aren't allowed to be vague—because otherwise, people wouldn't be able to tell what they can and can't do. But the Super Bowl Censorship Ordinance contained no rules explaining what kinds of signs were permitted."
"Handing over power to an unaccountable third party is totally antithetical to the principles of limited government enshrined in Arizona's Constitution," wrote Astrowsky in yesterday's order, further noting that the law "provides no standards to guide decision-makers' discretion."
"There is no legitimate government interest in content-based regulation of signs, let alone regulation of signs based on the content preferences of private businesses that are given special privileges by the government," the judge said.
Yes, of course stimulus spending drove inflation. Stimulus spending during the COVID-19 pandemic played a "sizable role" in driving inflation to the levels we're now seeing, per a new report from the St. Louis Federal Reserve. Around the world, "excess inflation is significantly correlated to each country's own domestic stimulus and to various exposures of foreign stimulus," the report concluded. Here in the U.S., "fiscal stimulus during the pandemic contributed to an increase in inflation of about 2.6 percentage points." Reason's Eric Boehm has more on the report here.
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