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House Dems' Closed-Door Meeting Turns Acrimonious

They clashed over an anti-Semitism resolution
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 7, 2019 5:33 AM CST
Rep. Ilhan Omar sits with fellow Democrats Rep. David Trone and Rep. Mike Levin on the House Education and Labor Committee during a bill markup, Wednesday, March 6, 2019.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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(Newser) – House Democrats are deeply divided over their response to comments from a freshman lawmaker seen as anti-Semitic—and Republicans are loving it. At an acrimonious closed-door meeting Wednesday, Democrats argued about rebuking Rep. Ilhan Omar for her remark that Israel's supporters in the US are pushing for "allegiance to a foreign country," sources tell the Washington Post. The caucus ended up indefinitely delaying a vote on a resolution condemning anti-Semitism and other kinds of bigotry. Sources tell the AP that some lawmakers sought to have it broadened to include anti-Muslim bias, while others wondered whether the resolution was necessary at all, since the House has already passed similar measures.

Rep. Ted Deutsch, who is Jewish, argued strongly in favor of the resolution, explaining that charges of "dual loyalty" are especially offensive to Jewish Americans, sources tell NBC. Rep. Ayanna Pressley, however, said there should be "equity in our outrage" and noted that Omar, one of two Muslim women in Congress, is facing attacks over her faith, the New York Times reports. President Trump later weighed in, tweeting: "It is shameful that House Democrats won’t take a stronger stand against Anti-Semitism in their conference. Anti-Semitism has fueled atrocities throughout history and it’s inconceivable they will not act to condemn it!" GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger also commented on the discord, saying: "It looks like the Democrats are doing a nice job of chewing themselves up." (A poster seen in the West Virginia Capitol last week tried to link Omar to 9/11.)

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