WASHINGTON — Speaker Kevin McCarthy blocked two Democrats from seats on the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, filling out GOP slates for newly created select subcommittees tasked with investigating the politicization of government and the origins of the Covid pandemic.
McCarthy, R-Calif., made good on his promise to block former Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and Rep. Eric Swalwell – both D-Calif. — from serving on that panel.
IN a letter to House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, DN.Y., McCarthy said that while he appreciated Jeffries’ “loyalty” to his colleagues, he could not put “partisan loyalty ahead of national security.”
McCarthy told reporters earlier Tuesday, “Hakeem Jeffries has 200 other people who can serve on that committee.” He noted that as speaker, he has the authority to reject nominees for special panels like the Intelligence Committee.
In addition to keeping Schiff and Swalwell off the intelligence committee, McCarthy has said he intends to remove rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., of the Foreign Affairs Committee.
In a joint statement Tuesday, the three Democrats said: “It is disappointing, but not surprising, that Kevin McCarthy has capitulated to the right wing of his caucus, undermined the integrity of Congress and harmed our national security in the process.”
The group accused McCarthy of making “a corrupt deal in his desperate and nearly failed bid to win the presidency, a deal that demanded political revenge on the three of us,” while vowing to continue speaking out on extremism while making a effort to “Defend our democracy on a dog run.”
McCarthy on Tuesday also named the GOP members of two select subcommittees that were formed for Republicans after they took control of the House.
That Arming the Federal Government panel, which will examine Republican claims that the Justice Department, FBI and other law enforcement agencies are becoming weapons to investigate conservatives like former President Donald Trump, will include Reps. Chip Roy of Texas and Dan Bishop of North Carolina – two of them 21 conservative holdouts who initially blocked McCarthy during the five-day battle for the speaker’s gavel this month.
Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., who supported McCarthy but has caused headaches for GOP leadership in the past, also got a seat on the panel.
Meanwhile, McCarthy named Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who had been suspended from social media platforms to promote Covid misinformation to the select panel on the coronavirus pandemic. Rep. Ronny Jackson of Texas, a Republican who was Trump’s White House physician, also got a nod for the Covid panel.
Jeffries will now have the opportunity to appoint Democratic members to the special panels.
The weapons panel
Republicans have said the new weapons panel will investigate GOP allegations that the Justice Department, FBI and other law enforcement agencies are being weaponized to investigate conservatives, including Trump. One case the panel will examine is the FBI search last year of Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Florida home and resort, when agents sought to retrieve classified material.
“Government has a responsibility to serve the American people, not go after them,” McCarthy said in a statement. “Unfortunately, throughout the Democrats’ one-party rule in Washington, we saw a dangerous pattern of government being used to target political opponents while neglecting their most basic responsibilities.”
Because the panel is a special subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee, panel chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who often clashes with Democrats, will lead the gun investigations.
Other notable choices include Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., a former chairman of the Oversight Committee who launched aggressive investigations into the Obama administration more than a decade ago.
Freshman Rep. Harriet Hageman, R-Wyo., who unseated Rep. Liz Cheney in a GOP primary last year, will also serve on the subcommittee.
The others are all McCarthy allies: GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, RN.Y., Conference Vice Chair Mike Johnson, R-La., Kelly Armstrong, RN.D., Greg Steube, R-Fla., and Kat Cammack, R-Fla. – Fla.
The Corona panel
Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, will chair the select subcommittee to investigate the spread of the coronavirus. Wenstrup, a physician and Iraq War veteran, is credited with applying a tourniquet and saving the life of Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., during 2017 congressional baseball shootout.
The others who will serve on the Covid panel are Nicole Malliotakis, RN.Y., Mariannette Miller Meeks, R-Iowa, Debbie Lesko, R-Ariz., John Joyce, R-Pa., and Rich McCormick, R- Go.
Rep. Michael Cloud, R-Texas, a conservative holdout who flipped to support McCarthy on 12th of 15 ballots in the speaker’s race, will also serve on the committee.
Last week, McCarthy appointed GOP members to a select committee focused on competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party. It is chaired by Speaker Mike Gallagher, R-Wis.
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com