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Are House Republicans Finally Growing a Pair?

Kevin Dietsch/Pool via AP

When it comes to what Republicans will do when they take back the House in 2022, they are saying all the right things. But anyone who has been a conservative for more than ten minutes knows that it is appropriate to ask: Do they really mean it this time?

Amid the Democrats’ decision to strip Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of her committee assignments for engaging in silly behavior before she was elected, I previously argued that when the GOP retakes the House, they must give the same treatment to Democrats who have also made silly and controversial remarks. According to a new report, they plan to do just that.

The Washington Examiner reported that House Republicans are signaling that they would target Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Eric Swalwell (D-CA) after regaining control of the lower chamber of Congress. These two, along with others, might be losing their committee seats if the GOP is actually serious about what they’re saying.

Omar has repeatedly come under fire for making thinly-veiled anti-Semitic comments when discussing the Israel/Palestinian conflict. Most recently, she implied that the United States is morally equivalent to terrorist groups Hamas and the Taliban. She is currently serving as a member of the House Foreign Affairs and Education and Labor committees.

Eric Swalwell, who looks like Dexter, would be on the chopping block for performing the Chinese version of “The Spy Who Shagged Me.” Last year, it was revealed that he had a relationship with a Chinese spy before and during his stint as a congressman. He is currently serving on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Judiciary and Homeland Security panels.

After Democrats decided to expel Greene, a member of the minority party, Republicans cried foul, pointing out that it violated the tradition of allowing the party to deal with its own members. It was at this point that there were rumblings of retaliation that could take place after 2022.

Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee told the Examiner that he could put forth a “stronger case” to strip Swalwell of his committee assignments. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) in June indicated that Omar would be censured and removed from her committees as well.

Here’s the thing. I don’t care whether Banks feels that they would need a “stronger case” to target Omar or Swalwell. The Democrats had the flimsiest case possible when they went after Greene. They punished her for harassing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) before she ever took office. They have allowed their lawmakers to make reprehensible comments and engage in foolish behavior without experiencing any real consequences. The most they have done is scold Omar for her bigoted comments against Jews.

House Republicans should be fully on board with stripping Omar and Swalwell of their committee assignments. Hell, throw Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) in there too. She has made her share of controversial statements. Perhaps AOC should also be targeted. After all, didn’t she accuse Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) of attempted murder shortly after the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol?

If the GOP lets the Democrats’ actions stand without reprisal, they will continue doing it when they eventually get control of the House again in the future. This is not the time for Republicans to behave as feckless cowards who are willing to go along to get along. They must make the Democrats pay.

You might be asking whether this would just result in an escalation in which the parties play tit for tat. That could certainly happen.

But on the other hand, if Democrats know that Republicans will respond in kind when it comes to punishing lawmakers who make questionable statements, they might be less eager to engage in this type of politicking. It would create a congressional version of Mutually Assured Destruction: You take one of ours, we’ll take two of yours.

Eventually, the trend would have to end. But one thing is clear, allowing the Democrats’ actions to go unanswered is not an option. There is only one language these people understand and it’s about time that the GOP becomes fluent in that particular dialect.