The House voted 219-212 Tuesday to pass Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar’s legislation to create a special envoy to combat Islamophobia, a week after progressives introduced a separate resolution to strip Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert of her committee assignments following her anti-Muslim comments calling the Minnesota Democrat a terrorist.
The bill would address the rise in incidents of Islamophobia worldwide and still needs to pass the Senate before it could go to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law.
The legislation was previously sitting in the House Foreign Affairs Committee for months but was voted out of committee last week as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi faced increasing pressure from members of her own party to take aggressive action against Boebert for her racist remarks.
Debate for the legislation was interrupted Tuesday night following objections made by Democrats against GOP Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, who insulted Omar during his remarks. Democratic Rep. Kathy Castor, who was serving as chair of the session, ruled that Perry’s comment “impugns the patriotism or loyalty of the member of the House” and ruled his remarks “not in order.” Debate continued shortly after Castor’s ruling.
The Biden administration said in a statement it supported this legislation.
“Religious freedom is a fundamental human right. This freedom is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and is also part of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Our country’s commitment to defending freedom of religion and belief goes back centuries, and the Administration strongly believes that people of all faiths and backgrounds should be treated with equal dignity and respect around the world,” the statement said.
The vote on the bill in the House comes after progressive Democratic Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts introduced a resolution, cosigned by other progressives, that would strip the Colorado Republican of her committee assignments if passed.
Last week, Pelosi dodged when she was asked if she supported that resolution and repeated her call for GOP leadership to punish members of their conference.
The call to have Boebert removed from her committee assignments for her controversial comments is not made in isolation. Threatening violence is the reason why Democrats stripped Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona of their committee assignments earlier this year after incendiary comments or actions they made.
Omar said last week she was “very confident” Pelosi would take “decisive action” against Boebert over the Colorado Republican’s anti-Muslim remarks.
“I’ve had a conversation with the speaker and I’m very confident that she will take decisive action next week,” she told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.