The House on Tuesday passed legislation to combat Islamophobia submitted by Representative Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.), with Democrats disagreeing over how to counter anti-Muslim remarks by Representative Lauren Boebert (R., Col.).
The House passed the bill 219-212, with no Republicans voting in favor.
Omar’s legislation would create a State Department post to combat Islamophobia similar to the special envoy for anti-Semitism. The bill would also order the State Department to include data on incidents of Islamophobia across the world in its reports on human rights. Omar has herself been accused of anti-Semitism, including by several House Democrats.
The bill comes after House progressives initially advocated removing Boebert from committee assignments. House Democratic leadership has maintained that Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) should be the one to remove Boebert from committees.
Boebert has repeatedly referred to Omar and other progressives as the “Jihad squad.” Boebert has also claimed that she and a staffer found themselves in an elevator with Omar, and that Boebert remarked “well, she doesn’t have a backpack, we should be fine.” Omar has denied that the incident took place.
Prior to passage, Representative James McGovern (D., Mass.) said the House would debate the Islamophobia bill because a member “told a completely fabricated story again and again that implies a Muslim colleague is a terrorist…just because they are Muslim.”
Representative Michael McCaul (R., Texas) countered that while he concurred with the “spirit and intent” of the bill, “it’s so vague and subjective that it could be used against legitimate speech for partisan purposes.”
Representative Dan Crenshaw (R. Texas) said the bill was irrelevant to Americans at this time.
“‘Tis the season of misplaced priorities,” Crenshaw said on the House floor. “My colleagues seem to think Islamophobia is what Americans care about. Well, I’d rather talk about something Americans care about: gassing up their cars and keeping their heat on.”
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