Ilhan Omar’s rising influence: From controversy to clout

Washington (Caasimada Online) – Rep. Ilhan Omar, once ousted from the House Foreign Affairs Committee, now finds herself wielding more influence than before.

The Minnesota Democrat and deputy chair of the Progressive Caucus has not only received a significant promotion within the House Budget Committee but has also seen a surge in her diplomatic engagements post-ouster.

Wednesday marked a milestone for Rep. Omar as her colleagues confirmed her as the vice-ranking member of the House Budget Committee. This makes her the second-in-command among the Democrats on the committee.

Expressing her delight, Omar noted, “It is more important than ever to fight for a future budget that invests in universal health care, debt-free higher education, and tackles the climate crisis — and that change starts with the House Budget Committee.”

While the Budget Committee can’t directly fund these initiatives, it generally sets the overarching spending parameters that shape the more granular appropriations bills.

It’s still uncertain, however, if the House will pass a budget resolution this year.

GOP influence on budget planning

Though Omar has clinched a crucial role, it’s important to note that the Republicans, led by House Budget Chairman Jodey C. Arrington from Texas, hold sway over the budget drafting process.

Despite not producing one yet, Arrington intends to write a budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Given her position in the minority party, Omar’s influence on this GOP-driven plan remains to be seen.

Omar’s rise follows a contentious period in February, during which a party-line vote (218-211) led to her removal from the Foreign Affairs Committee.

The decision came in response to comments she made in 2019, deemed antisemitic by critics.

Omar, born in Somalia and among the first Muslim women elected to Congress in 2018, apologized for her remarks and regained the backing of her party.

An unexpected diplomatic boost

Omar’s removal from the Foreign Affairs Committee has not curtailed her diplomatic pursuits—quite the contrary.

In the last four months, she has increased her interactions with foreign embassies, parliamentarians, the Biden administration, and Democratic lawmakers significantly.

“It’s been actually fascinating,” Omar stated in a recent interview. “Since I was removed from the committee, I think I’ve had more visits from parliamentarians around the world and visits with ambassadors in the last three months than I would in a year or two while on the committee.”

This unexpected turn of events indicates that despite past controversies, Omar is a resilient political player.