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GOP lawmakers push to remove Rep. Omar from her committee assignments amid Dem push against Rep. Greene

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This story has been updated with a statement from Rep. Omar

Several House Republican lawmakers are pushing to strip Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, D-MN, of her committee assignments over her antisemitic statements, first reported by Fox News. This comes during a similar push from Democrats to remove Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-GA, of her committee assignments over her previous endorsements of conspiracy theories, which includes an antisemitic post from 2018.

Omar is a member of the House Budget Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Her office responded to this reporter’s request for comment with the following statement:

“Let’s be clear: this is a desperate smear rooted in racism, misogyny, and Islamophobia. Marjorie Taylor Greene has incited violence against her fellow Members of Congress, repeatedly singling out prominent women of color. She actively encouraged the insurrection on the Capitol that threatened my life and the life of every Member of Congress, and resulted in multiple deaths. She ran a campaign ad holding an assault rifle next to my face. She came to the Capitol demanding that me and Rep. Tlaib swear in on the Christian bible instead of the Quran,” she said.

“The House Republican Caucus, instead of holding her accountable, is now fanning the flames. Republicans will do anything to distract from the fact that they have not only allowed but elevated members of their own caucus who encourage violence. It’s time to stop whitewashing the actions of the violent conspiracy theorists, who pose a direct and immediate threat to their fellow Members of Congress and our most fundamental democratic processes.”

As reported by The Dark Wire, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-CA, met with Greene Tuesday and called her past comments “deeply disturbing.” Reps. Brian Babin (R-TX), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Jody Hice (R-GA), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), and Ronny Jackson (R-TX) are all sponsors of the proposal.

Rep. Biggs slammed the House Democrats’ latest move as “blatant hypocrisy,” in a statement to The Dark Wire Investigation Foundation.

“House Democrats have embarked on a dangerous slope in attempting to punish a Republican Member of Congress for thoughts and opinions she shared as a private citizen before being sworn into office,” Biggs said.

He added, “holding Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Green accountable for statements that she made before running for Congress, while not being willing to hold sitting Democrat Members of Congress accountable for their offensive and intemperate statements is another example of blatant hypocrisy by Congressional Democrats.”

“If Democrats proceed with their authoritarianism, Republicans should reciprocate by removing Democrat members who have violated the House rules of decorum and principles of American decency while serving in this body. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has shared anti-Semitic sentiments while serving in the House of Representatives, and she should be one of the first Members held to the standard that Democrats are setting this week,” Biggs said.

Omar has made a number of antisemitic statements while in office and is a supporter of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement that seeks to economically strangle Israel. The founder of BDS, Omar Barghouti, has said the movement’s mission is to destroy the Jewish State.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken has been outspokenly against BDS, saying “it unfairly and inappropriately singles out Israel and creates a double standard that we do not apply to other countries.”

Omar also infamously said  “It’s all about the Benjamins baby” in response to McCarthy’s pledge to “take action” against Omar for criticizing Israel.

She also accused American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) of paying politicians for their support.

Omar later apologized.

Follow Jennie Taer on Twitter @JennieSTaer

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Minnesota farmer’s lawsuit prompts removal of race and sex-based grant program

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Five months after Minnesota farmer Lance Nistler filed a federal lawsuit with the help of the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), the state has removed race- and sex-based preferences from its Down Payment Assistance Grant Program. This significant policy change followed Nistler’s legal challenge, which highlighted the discriminatory nature of the program’s selection process.

Pacific Legal Foundation writes involvement in Nistler’s case drew attention and criticism from Minnesota progressives. Writing in the Minnesota Reformer, Sigrid Jewett accused PLF of using Nistler “as a pawn in a larger culture war game.” She questioned why a California-based legal firm with numerous Supreme Court victories would be interested in representing a small Minnesota farmer pro bono.

PLF opposes all race- and sex-based preferences in the law, and that’s the real reason the firm chose to represent Nistler. The foundation stands against discrimination in various domains, including government board selections, school admissions, government contracts, and grant distributions, such as in Nistler’s case.

Here are the facts: Minnesota’s Down Payment Assistance Grant Program offers up to $15,000 toward the purchase of farmland. Recipients are chosen through a lottery system. However, before the policy change, even if a recipient was among the first picked through the lottery—as Nistler was, being selected ninth—they could be bumped to the back of the line if they were not a racial minority, female, LGBTQIA+, or otherwise designated as an “emerging” farmer by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

Despite being chosen ninth in the lottery, which awarded grants to 68 applicants, Nistler did not receive a grant. He was moved from ninth to 102nd on the waitlist because he is a white male.

Nistler grew up on his family farm, milking cows. “They would lose money every year,” he says of the family operation. After he left for school, his family sold the cows and switched to farming soybeans, oats, and wheat. Lance’s father and uncle now run the farm, but they’re getting older. Lance, who has a degree in electronic engineering and worked in HVAC, is interested in buying a 40-acre chunk of the family farm, becoming the fourth-generation farmer in his family.

The land isn’t just going to be given to Lance. This is a working farm, and the Nistlers aren’t a wealthy family that can transfer land from one generation to the next without consideration. “My dad and uncle, they don’t have 401(k)s or anything,” Lance says. “I mean, the land and the equipment, that’s their retirement. This stuff isn’t given away. I’m not just going to get it handed down to me and inherited. It has to be purchased, and it is not cheap.”

Despite being from a farming family, Lance considers himself a new farmer—he has never owned farmland before, and he has an electronics background. Buying these 40 acres would be a huge step for Lance, planting him firmly in the farming world, which is what Minnesota’s grant program aimed to do. The idea that he would have qualified as an emerging farmer if only his skin were a different color struck Lance as wrong.

“The country we live in, the idea is it’s equal opportunity for everyone,” he says. “And if that’s what it is, then well, why shouldn’t I have the same chances?”

When Lance filed his lawsuit in January, the complaint argued that the discriminatory process violated the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause. The complaint stated:

“Nistler brings this lawsuit to vindicate his constitutional right to equal protection of the law. He brings it to give all Minnesotans a fair chance at a difference-making grant program. He brings it in the hope that he will be able to own that small farm in the near future. He brings it because he is not giving up on his dream.”

In May, after Lance called attention to the unconstitutional policy, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed legislation removing the race and sex prioritization from the program. Now, Minnesota will treat farmers equally—as the Constitution promises.

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