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Omar elevated to No. 2 slot among House Budget Democrats

Minnesota lawmaker, lightning rod for the right, was kicked off Foreign Affairs panel this year

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., speaks to a reporter in her office in the Longworth House Office Building on May 25.
Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., speaks to a reporter in her office in the Longworth House Office Building on May 25. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Ilhan Omar, who was booted off the House Foreign Affairs Committee earlier this year, won a consolation prize Wednesday.

The Minnesota Democrat, deputy chair of the Progressive Caucus, was named the vice ranking member, or No. 2 Democrat, on the House Budget Committee.

“I am thrilled to be voted in as Vice-Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee by my [Democratic] colleagues,” Omar said in a statement. “It is more important than ever to fight for a future budget that invests in universal health care, debt-free higher education, and tackles the climate crisis — and that change starts with the House Budget Committee.”

An aide to House Budget ranking member Brendan F. Boyle, D-Pa., confirmed Omar’s new assignment.

While the Budget panel can’t directly fund such initiatives, it typically sets overall spending levels that can guide the more detailed appropriations bills. But it’s not clear whether the House will adopt a budget resolution this year.

[Related: Removed from Foreign Affairs, Omar amplifies her voice]

House Budget Chairman Jodey C. Arrington, R-Texas, has said he intends to write a budget for the coming fiscal year, but he has yet to produce one. And Omar, as part of the minority party, would have little influence over that GOP-crafted blueprint.

Omar lost her seat on the Foreign Affairs Committee in a contentious showdown in February, when the House voted 218-211 along party lines to remove her from the panel, citing 2019 comments that were widely criticized as antisemitic. She apologized for those remarks and won the support of her party.

Born in Somalia, Omar was one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress when she first won her seat in 2018.

In the four months since her ouster, Omar has gained more clout with foreign embassies, visiting parliamentarians, the Biden administration and Democratic lawmakers than she had managed in four years on the Foreign Affairs Committee.

“It’s been actually fascinating,” Omar said in a recent interview. “Since I was removed from committee, I think I’ve had more visits from parliamentarians around the world and visits with ambassadors in the last three months than I would in a year or two while I was on the committee.”

Rachel Oswald contributed to this report.

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