Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) is preparing to launch a new foreign affairs task force focused on addressing crises in Africa, even as the Minnesota Democrat faces threats to remove her committee assignments in the GOP-led House.
Omar on Tuesday announced the creation of the US-Africa Policy Working Group, which will seek to create a partnership between experts and policymakers in Africa to understand how the continent is affected by US policies. The group will focus on scheduling bipartisan briefings with Biden administration officials, non-government agencies and other experts to address a variety of issues.
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“To have a sustainable, growing and egalitarian African continent, we must find solutions on the continent, be it in agricultural productivity, infrastructure, democratic governance, fighting extremism or addressing the climate crisis,” Omar said in a statement. . “Our role must be as partners with the movements and groups of civil society that act on the ground. For too long, the United States has treated Africa as a threat to be contained, a series of fires to be put out, or a junior partner to be disciplined.”
Members of the group will be tasked with responding to a number of pressing crises in Africa, including conflicts in Ethiopia as well as government instability in West Africa. US officials will also work directly with African leaders to understand the continent’s perspective on some of the world’s biggest challenges, such as the war in Ukraine and climate change.
“The US-Africa Policy Working Group will be a venue for the promotion of American values and interests in our relations with our African partners,” Omar said. “I sincerely hope that he will become a central player in building lasting partnerships and building a base of expertise so that Congress can engage more actively in US Africa policy and help advance the conversation for many years. ”
Rep. Ilhan Omar listens as acting director of the Office of Management and Budget Russell Vought testifies before the House Appropriations Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 12, 2019, during a hearing on the 2020 budget.
The creation of the group comes as Omar faces the threat of being kicked off the House Foreign Affairs Committee after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) repeatedly vowed to strip the Minnesota Democrat of his committee duties. McCarty has sought to remove Omar for his anti-Israel positions and accusations that Omar is anti-Semitic due to past comments.
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To be stripped of his duties, the House must pass a full resolution supporting his removal. Republicans hold a 222-213 majority in the House, meaning they can only afford to lose four votes to pass the resolution without any Democrats. That could prove a challenge for McCarthy, as some Democrats are reportedly lobbying GOP members on the Foreign Affairs panel to oppose his removal.
At least three Republicans, Reps. Ken Buck (CO), Victoria Spartz (IN) and Nancy Mace (SC), have said they will vote against Omar’s impeachment. Three others — Reps. Tim Burchett (TN), David Valadao (CA) and Matt Gaetz (FL) — remain undecided.