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House to advance legislation to combat Islamophobia as pressure mounts to punish Boebert for anti-Muslim comments

<i>OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP/Getty Images</i><br/>The House is planning to advance Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar's legislation to create a special envoy to combat Islamophobia on December 9
AFP via Getty Images
The House is planning to advance Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar's legislation to create a special envoy to combat Islamophobia on December 9

By Annie Grayer, CNN

The House is planning to advance Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar’s legislation to create a special envoy to combat Islamophobia on Thursday, marking the first step members are taking since Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert’s anti-Muslim comments calling Omar a terrorist.

The bill, led by Omar that CNN exclusively reported in July, is scheduled to get voted out of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on Thursday, Omar’s office told CNN, and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s office announced the bill will get a floor vote on Tuesday. The bill would still need to pass the Senate before it could go to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law.

“As the United Nations said this year, anti-Muslim hatred has reached ‘epidemic proportions’ and every country must take action,” Omar said in a statement to CNN.

“I am excited for the opportunity to bring forth legislation to address this crisis alongside Rep. Jan Schakowsky. I want to thank Chairman (Gregory) Meeks for taking this bill up in the House Foreign Affairs Committee,” the Minnesota Democrat added. “And we look forward to it passing this bill and sending it to the President’s desk.”

Omar and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke on the phone and at the Library of Congress on Wednesday and discussed Omar’s bill, according to a source familiar with the exchanges.

Moving forward this legislation that addresses the rise in incidents of Islamophobia worldwide, which has been sitting in committee for months, comes as Pelosi has been facing increasing pressure from members within her own party to take aggressive action against Boebert.

Progressive Democratic Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts is introducing a resolution, cosigned by other progressives, that would strip the Colorado Republican of her committee assignments.

Pelosi dodged when she was asked if she supported that resolution on Wednesday and repeated her call for GOP leadership to punish members of their conference.

“It’s the responsibility of Republicans to discipline their members,” the California Democrat said, a reference to how GOP House leadership has declined to take any action against Boebert since she her remarks have been widely circulated.

Omar has called on both Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to take decisive action against Boebert.

“I think it’s important for us to say this kind of language, this kind of hate cannot be condoned by the House of Representatives, and we should punish and sanction Boebert by stripping her of her committees, by rebuking her language by doing everything that we can to send a clear and decisive message to the American public that if the Republicans are not going to be adults, and condemn this, that we are going to do that,” Omar said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

The call to have Boebert removed from her committee assignments for her controversial comments is not made in isolation. Threatening violence is the reason why Democrats stripped Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona of their committee assignments this Congress after incendiary comments or actions they made.

Ahead of this week, Omar said she was “very confident” Pelosi would take “decisive action” against Boebert over the Colorado Republican’s anti-Muslim remarks.

“I’ve had a conversation with the Speaker and I’m very confident that she will take decisive action next week,” she told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”

This story has been updated with additional developments Thursday.

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