WASHINGTON- Chairman Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday blocked two Democrats from seats on the House Intelligence Committee and filled out Republican lists of newly created select subcommittees tasked with investigating the politicization of government and the origins of the covid pandemic.
McCarthy, a Republican from California, made good on his promise to block former Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and Rep. Eric Swalwell, both Democrats from California. — to serve on that panel.
In a letter To House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, DN.Y., McCarthy said that while he appreciated Jeffries’ “loyalty” to his colleagues, he could not put “partisan loyalty over national security.”
McCarthy told reporters early Tuesday: “Hakeem Jeffries has another 200 people who can serve on that committee.” He noted that, as a speaker, he has the authority to reject nominees for special panels like the Intelligence Committee.
In addition to keeping Schiff and Swalwell out of the Intelligence Committee, McCarthy has said he intends to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., from the Foreign Affairs Committee.
In a joint statement Tuesday, the three Democrats said: “It is disappointing but not surprising that Kevin McCarthy has capitulated to the right wing of his caucus, undermining the integrity of Congress and damaging our national security in the process.”
The group accused McCarthy of striking “a crooked deal in his desperate and near-failed attempt to win the presidency, a deal that required political vendetta against the three of us,” while vowing to keep speaking out about extremism while making efforts to “stubbornly defend our democracy”.
McCarthy also on Tuesday named the Republican members of two select subcommittees that the Republicans formed after they took control of the House.
The federal government Arming panel, which will investigate Republican allegations that the Justice Department, FBI and other law enforcement agencies are being armed to investigate conservatives like former President Donald Trump, will include Rep. Chip Roy of Texas and Dan Bishop of North Carolina: two of the 21 conservative holdouts who initially blocked McCarthy during the five-day battle for the speaker’s gavel this month.
Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., who endorsed McCarthy but has caused GOP leadership headaches in the past, also won a seat on the panel.
Meanwhile, McCarthy appointed Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who had been suspended from social media platforms for promoting misinformation about covid, to the select panel on the coronavirus pandemic. Rep. Ronny Jackson of Texas, a Republican who was Trump’s White House doctor, also got the nod for the Covid panel.
Jeffries will now have the opportunity to appoint Democratic members to the special panels.
Republicans have said the new weapons panel will examine Republican allegations that the Justice Department, FBI and other law enforcement agencies are being armed to investigate conservatives, including Trump. One matter the panel will investigate is the FBI’s search last year of Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Florida home and resort, as agents tried to recover classified material.
“The government has a responsibility to serve the American people, not persecute them,” McCarthy said in a statement. “Unfortunately, throughout the one-party rule of the Democrats in Washington, we have seen a dangerous pattern in which the government is used to attack political opponents while neglecting its most basic responsibilities.”
Because the panel is a special subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee, panel chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who frequently clashes with Democrats, will lead the weapons investigations.
Other notable picks include Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., a former Oversight Committee chairman who launched aggressive investigations into the Obama administration more than a decade ago.
Freshman Rep. Harriet Hageman, a Wyoming Republican, who ousted Rep. Liz Cheney in the Republican primary last year, will also serve on the subcommittee.
The others are all McCarthy allies: Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, RN.Y., Conference Vice President Mike Johnson, R-La., Kelly Armstrong, RN.D., Greg Steube, R-Fla. , and Kat Cammack, R-Fla.
Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, will chair the select subcommittee investigating the spread of the coronavirus. Wenstrup, a medic and Iraq War veteran, is credited with applying a tourniquet and saving the life of Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., during the 2017 congressional baseball shooting.
The others who will serve on the Covid panel are Nicole Malliotakis, RN.Y., Mariannette Miller Meeks, R-Iowa, Debbie Lesko, R-Ariz., John Joyce, R-Pa., and Rich McCormick, R-Ga.
Rep. Michael Cloud, R-Texas, a conservative conservative who swung around to support McCarthy on the 12th of 15 ballots in the race for speaker, will also serve on the committee.
Last week, McCarthy appointed members of the Republican Party to a select committee focused on the competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party. It is led by President Mike Gallagher, R-Wisconsin.