The House is expected to vote Thursday on a resolution “opposing hate” as Democrats try to move past a controversy over remarks by freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar that deeply split the party and clouded their agenda.
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced the vote at a private morning meeting of House Democrats, according to a spokeswoman.
The move was in part intended to resolve a divide that opened after Omar, D-Minn., made comments about Israel that were seen as anti-Semitic. A Muslim-American, she has been critical of the Jewish state in the past.
Some Jewish lawmakers preferred to keep the resolution tailored to anti-Semitism, while other members wanted to broaden it to include a rejection of all forms of racism and bigotry. Some proposed two separate resolutions. Others questioned whether a resolution was necessary, and viewed such a move as unfairly singling out Omar at a time when President Donald Trump and others have made disparaging racial comments.
“This shouldn’t be so hard,” said Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., the lead author of a draft resolution to condemn anti-Semitism that did not mention Omar by name.
As Deutch spoke on the House floor Thursday, a new text was being prepared ahead of voting.
The abrupt turn of events come as Democratic leaders try to quickly fend off a challenge from Republicans on the issue.
Democratic leaders worried they could run into trouble on another bill, their signature ethics and voting-reform package, if Republicans tried to tack their own anti-Semitism bill on as an amendment.
By voting Thursday, the House Democratic vote-counters believe they could inoculate their lawmakers against such a move by passing Democrats’ own anti-hate bill.