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Democrats officially now control the House of Representatives, and one of their first actions as the majority party was to revamp a rule that goes back to 1837 in order to accommodate two Muslim lawmakers.
On Thursday, the chamber voted 234-197 to pass a new rules package, which governs the regulations for members of Congress and is a routine part of starting the legislative session.
What isn’t routine, however, is the change to head-wear regulations. Since the 19th century, the House has kept hats and other head coverings off limits as a sign of formality and tradition for office holders.
But not anymore. Due almost entirely to incoming Democrats who practice Islam, that nearly two-century old rule has been modified. Those Muslim members are Rashida Tlaib of Michigan — who just made headlines for crass language — and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.
“During the session of the House, a Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner may not wear nonreligious headdress or a hat or remain by the Clerk’s desk during the call of the roll or the counting of ballots,” the new rule states, according to The Hill.
Omar, who wears a head scarf in public, used social media to praise the change, but couldn’t help making a back-handed jab at the president at the same time.
“Yesterday, Congress voted to lift a 181 year ban on headwear to make the #116thCongress more inclusive for all,” she declared.
“I thank my colleagues for welcoming me, and I look forward to the day we lift the Muslim ban separating families all over the U.S. from their loved ones,” she continued.
That last part was referring to the Trump administration’s policies of restricting travel to the United States from certain countries that have known problems with radical terrorism.
Contrary to Omar’s tweet, there is no “Muslim ban,” a fact that the Supreme Court has recently confirmed.
“Chief Justice John Roberts penned the 5-4 opinion in which the court found that Trump’s order was well within his authority as president,” The Western Journal reported in June. “The decision also denied that religious hostility had anything to do with the order.”
“The (order) is expressly premised on legitimate purposes: preventing entry of nationals who cannot be adequately vetted and inducing other nations to improve their practices,” Roberts wrote.
Countries on that restricted list are widely known to be unstable and hotbeds of extremism, such as Syria and Iran. The newly sworn-in Representative Omar must know this, but decided to push a false narrative anyway.
Despite her attempts to politicize the issue, however, it’s hard to get truly worked up about the head-wear change. The updated rule which continues to prohibit random hats but allows religious headgear is reasonable, and plenty of centuries-old laws have been changed in America for the better.
Indeed, allowing religious head coverings isn’t something that only benefits one person. The rule change means that Jewish lawmakers can now wear a kippah or yarmulke and Sikhs can wear a turban, for instance.
Other government branches have already enacted waivers for religious head coverings. Even the U.S. military has eased its rules in this area — and that change happened during the Trump presidency.
The real concern for conservatives is not that Democrats just overturned an obscure rule, but rather that they want to overturn so much else. The left has a laundry list of goals that go all the way up to impeaching the president — and that’s why it’s so important to challenge them and win again in 2020.