An overview from Rep. Ilhan Omar

My Record


In Minnesota’s Fifth District, we believe in human dignity, in peace and diplomacy, and in government that can be a force for good in the world. When I was elected to Congress, I promised that I would carry your values to Washington. 

But the reality is that Congress in the 21st century doesn’t always lend itself to clear-cut decisions. Most bills include good things and bad things, and votes on larger packages – or in negotiations that include multiple separate bills – are oversimplified in order to divide us. It is a playbook started by Newt Gingrich in the 1990s.

My driving force in the House is co-governance. Our government is better and our communities are stronger when the PEOPLE have a say in the decisions that affect them. None of the votes I’ve taken have happened in a vacuum – they’ve happened with consultation with stakeholders across the district. I want to make sure you understand the work I’ve done, and how it reflects the values you sent me to Washington to represent.



Over the last five years, I have gotten 8 separate bills and amendments signed into law, as well as multiple other provisions included in larger packages. The days of “I’m just a bill,” don’t reflect how legislating works today – most of the work happens through negotiations and amendments. I have built strong relationships with the Representatives who lead much of this process, and that has led to a strong record of legislative successes. At the bottom of this page, you can learn more about my 10 bills, amendments, and provisions that have been signed into law.

Community Project Funding

I secured $54 million in community project funding, making me one of the most successful appropriators in the Minnesota delegation. These funds have been allocated to critical community-centered projects throughout the district. They funded sprinklers in affordable public housing after the devastating Cedar Riverside high-rise fire, supported food shelves addressing hunger in North Minneapolis and Columbia Heights, contributed to the Southside Village Boys and Girls Club expansion in South Minneapolis, empowered entrepreneurs through the Northside Economic Opportunity Network (NEON) in North Minneapolis, and aided the Richfield Woodlake Nature Center, among other initiatives.


I passed a major piece of legislation called the MEALS Act, which provided funding to feed nearly 30 million children across the country during the pandemic. This legislation builds on my Universal School Meals bill, one of the first bills I introduced. Last year, Minnesota adopted this idea and has passed universal school meals for children across our state.

Historic Climate Action

I played a pivotal role in passing the Inflation Reduction Act, the largest climate bill ever passed. As Whip of the Progressive Caucus and now Vice-Chair of the Caucus, I ensured that progressive priorities were included in the final passage, including the creation of millions of green jobs (100,000 jobs in Minnesota over the next ten years) and a $60 billion investment into communities disproportionately hurt by climate change and pollution.

Student Debt Cancellation

I led the fight to cancel student loan debt. Due in large part to the Progressive coalition we built, President Biden has canceled nearly $144 billion for about 4 million borrowers. I was one of the lone voices calling for student debt cancellation just a few years ago, and it is now a mainstream view within the Democratic Party.

Gun Safety

I fought to pass the most significant gun safety legislation in over thirty years. This bill will save lives and help stop the gun violence epidemic that has plagued our communities for far too long. It will also support youth in crisis, improve school mental health resources, protect victims of domestic abuse, and aid in suicide prevention.

Reproductive Freedom

I am a steadfast defender of reproductive freedom. In the House, I fought to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act to enshrine reproductive rights into law. I will never stop working to protect women’s freedom to control their bodies, lives, and futures. I’m proud to have the endorsement of every pro-choice organization in this race including Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Women Winning.

Medicare for All

I am a champion for Medicare for All to ensure dignity and equality for all people. As the Co-Chair of the Medicare for All Caucus, I am working to make quality healthcare accessible to every single person across the country. I have also dedicated time and resources to getting other members of Congress elected who support Medicare for All to build a coalition that can get this bill passed.



When President Biden was elected, he unveiled a sweeping proposal called the Build Back Better Act. This bill would have lifted millions of kids out of poverty, expanded pre-school opportunities for more families, increased access to homecare for older Americans and people with disabilities, reduced prescription drug prices, invested in affordable housing, and so much more. The fate of this bill – which would need the support of all 50 Democratic and Independent Senators – was tied to a separate bill, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), now known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

From the beginning, it was clear to me and other Progressives that our best bet of passing the transformational Build Back Better Act was to vote on that package before we passed the IIJA. This was also the strategy of President Biden, the White House, and Congressional leadership. I was deeply involved in the drafting of the IIJA, including getting a provision from my Zero Waste Act included. However, when centrist Democrats revolted against the President and forced a vote on the IIJA, I was clear in my commitment to constituents that we shouldn’t put infrastructure over kids in poverty, elders without healthcare, and a flailing middle class. What we saw immediately after the IIJA passed is exactly what I predicted – two holdouts in the Senate got their infrastructure bill, and they immediately withheld support for the Build Back Better Act.

Eventually, parts of the Build Back Better Act were passed in the Inflation Reduction Act, which invested $370 billion in climate action, reduced prescription drug prices for seniors, and installed a 15% minimum corporate tax rate. I was proud to play an important role in passing the Inflation Reduction Act.

Since the IIJA passed, I have written dozens of letters of support for projects that would bring home federal dollars for local infrastructure projects. I have hosted roundtables with local and state leaders alongside the U.S. Department of Transportation. The Fifth District has already received tens of millions of dollars under the IIJA, and I have worked hard to bring that money home. 



I believe that U.S. foreign policy should center human rights, human dignity, and diplomacy. Sanctions, when used properly and with clear conditions for their eventual lifting, can be a valuable tool to target autocrats and oligarchs who work in opposition to these values. But too often, sanctions are used indiscriminately and end up harming everyday people – the people who are already subjected to the cruelty of the leaders of their country – without having tangible effects on the leaders they are meant to target. Time after time, we have seen “maximum pressure” sanctions campaigns fail to deter or change the behavior of a given government, while at the same time making it harder for the ordinary citizens of that country to buy basic staples like food, gasoline, and medicine.

Since I started in the House, I have opposed these broad-based sanctions that end up punishing entire countries for the actions of leaders they have no role in electing. I have also consistently opposed sanctions bills that do not include clear conditions for being lifted — the reality is, the President already has significant authority to create and enact sanctions programs. When Congress mandates or codifies those sanctions programs, we make it much harder to lift them when conditions change. This not only makes it so that programs like the Cuba embargo remain in place decades past their utility, it robs sanctions of the very power they’re meant to have as an incentive for a government or individual to change their behavior.

When a country does something horrific – like Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – it is natural for us to want to respond by punishing that country. But it is vital we differentiate between the leaders who make these decisions, and the people who are subjected to them. I have supported efforts to hold Putin, his inner circle, Russian oligarchs, and the Russian military accountable through targeted sanctions. I have also voted against certain sanctions on Russia because it would have mostly harmed everyday people, without impacting Putin or anyone in his inner circle, and because the sanctions in question (such as the ban on imports on Russian oil) were already in place without a need for Congressional action. My approach to Israel is not different on this issue than my approach to any other country – I would support limited sanctions on officials responsible for human rights abuses with clear conditions for lifting those sanctions, and I would oppose any sanctions program that I believed would disproportionately impact Israeli civilians



It should go without saying that I oppose genocide in all instances without reservation. In 2019, I voted present on a resolution that recognized the Armenian Genocide in Turkey. At the time, there was a lot of justified anger in Washington towards the Turkish government for its military incursion into Northern Syria (at the time, I led a call for a full investigation into credible accusations that Turkey had used chemical weapons against Kurdish civilians,) and in my view the genocide resolution was being brought to the floor as a form of punishment for the Turkish government. As I wrote at that time, we should not use accountability and recognition of genocide as a cudgel in a political fight. I believe that such actions discredit the serious and earth-shattering consequences of genocide. To be clear – the Amernian Genocide happened, and it was atrocious. The U.S. should be committed to addressing genocide and other atrocity crimes without needing a political reason to drive it. Having said that, I am proud of the fact that we have worked with and been endorsed by the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).



I was in the Capitol on January 6th. It was a horrifying and harrowing experience, needing to go into hiding in the seat of our democracy while certifying the results of the presidential election. We should be taking serious action to prevent an insurrection like that from happening again, especially as Donald Trump is gearing up to foment the same unrest following the election this year.

In May 2021, the House voted on a package to pour $1.9 billion into a package nominally aimed to prevent another insurrection. But that is not what the bill actually did – it increased police surveillance and police force, all while ignoring the underlying threats of organized and violent white supremacy. This bill was passed into law before any serious investigation into the causes of January 6th, and I did not believe it would prevent another January 6th. 



I have long supported a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine. And I have supported the democratic, non-violent movements that have aimed to hold Israel accountable for its treatment of Palestinians, in line with popular movements to end apartheid in South Africa. 

The attacks on October 7, 2023 were horrifying, and I immediately condemned them. I have met with the families of Israeli American hostages multiple times, and I have repeatedly called and continue to call  for Hamas to release all hostages. 

What we have seen of Israel’s response in Gaza since Hamas’s attack has shocked the consciences of billions of people around the world. The U.S.’s unwavering support of Israel has alienated us from many of our allies, and it calls into question the values that the U.S. claims to hold. In spring 2024, the Biden Administration moved closer to the views of most Americans and finally called for a ceasefire and allowed for a ceasefire resolution to pass the U.N. Security Council. 

I have not singled out military aid to Israel – in fact, I have repeatedly and publicly opposed weapons sales to other countries including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. One of my bills, the Stop Arming Human Rights Abusers Act, would create a uniform system to prohibit security aid for any country that violates human rights.



I feel deeply that all forms of hate are connected – I cannot speak out against Islamophobia if I am not also speaking out against the dangerous rise in anti-Semitism. The first op-ed I wrote after being elected to the U.S. House was focused on condemning and rejecting anti-Semitism in all of its forms.

The sad truth is that so many threads of anti-Semitism are woven into our society, and I  unintentionally played into harmful tropes that target Jewish people in the past. My friends and colleagues shared with me the history of this language, and I apologized unequivocally when these comments hurt my Jewish constituents and colleagues. Fighting anti-Semitism includes accounting for and learning from my own mistakes and being a better ally. 

I have also sought to lift up universal values—and to speak up for people of all faiths—at every turn. That includes joining with my colleague Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky from Illinois early in my term to speak out about the rise in anti-Semitic violence—and calling for increased attention to white nationalist terror. We must all unite against extremist Republicans and white supremacists, including former President Donal Trump, who have spent their whole lifes targeting marginalized communities—promoting hate against Black, immigrant, Muslim, Latinx, women, people with disabilities and Jewish-Americans.



I have voted for the vast majority of aid packages for Ukraine. I meet regularly with Ukrainian-American community members in my district to discuss and engage on how the U.S. can support Ukraine in Russia’s war of aggression. I believe in the essential right of Ukraine to defend itself in this war, and in the moral obligation of the United States to support that defense.

Recently, House members have been circulating a discharge petition which would bring to the floor a bill the Senate passed to provide aid to Ukraine, unconditional military aid to Israel, support for Taiwan, and a small amount of humanitarian assistance to Gaza. I do not plan to sign onto this resolution because I cannot in good conscience support more unconditional aid to Israel while they are committing war crimes and furthering Gaza into a dire humanitarian crisis. I support aid for Ukraine, but I cannot vote for a package that would increase and prolong the suffering of civilians in Gaza. I will continue to advocate for defensive and humanitarian aid to Ukraine that is not tied to other offensive military aid that I cannot support.



During my first two terms in Congress, I was proud to serve on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Despite House Republicans’ political stunt to remove me from the committee due to my outspoken support of human rights and accountability for all nations, I have continued this important work as the founder the chair of the U.S. Africa Policy Working Group.

It is important for our national security and foreign policy goals for Members of Congress to routinely travel to meet our foreign counterparts. There is a long-standing and transparent process through the House Ethics Committee to disclose these trips, and nearly every single Member of Congress participates in them. Although I have undertaken official visits to more than a dozen countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, my visits to two countries in particular have received outsized criticism without recognition of the purpose and value of the trips: Qatar and Pakistan.

Qatar is an important strategic U.S. ally and a key negotiator in nearly every conflict in the Middle East. As part of this bipartisan trip, one of the main agenda items was visiting our US troops stationed in Qatar for Thanksgiving. This is a common tradition for Members of Congress traveling to our US military bases abroad, like I did in Djibouti and Niger. Qatar negotiates on behalf of our interests with the Taliban and with Hamas. Their partnership has allowed us to continue relocating Afghan allies to the U.S. – nearly all of whom actually transit through our military base in Qatar before they arrive here. They have helped get U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and their families added to the Rafah Crossing list to depart Gaza, and they are actively working to secure the release of hostages from Gaza and to establish a durable and lasting ceasefire. When I traveled to Qatar along with several of my colleagues, I spoke with Qatari officials about their record on forced labor and human rights (which I have also criticized publicly), as well as about their ongoing support for so many U.S. priorities. The relationships that were fostered during that visit have enabled me to be a more effective advocate for both Afghan refugees and Israeli hostages held in Gaza.

Pakistan, similarly, is a key U.S. ally in the Middle East. I visited that country during a critical time for their democracy, meeting with both government and opposition leaders, and it has allowed me to be engaged on this issue in a way that wouldn’t have been possible without my visit. Pakistani democracy is essential to U.S. interests and national security, and it was critical during their constitutional crisis for American officials to show sustained support for their democratic institutions. This is work I have continued since my visit, including by supporting bipartisan efforts in Congress to reaffirm our support for Pakistani democracy. I also met with Afghan refugees who had fled their homes after the U.S. military withdrawal in 2021. Pakistan has an important role to play in our ability to uphold our promise to our Afghan allies, as thousands of Afghans are waiting in that country while our country processes their visas for the U.S.

The reality is, residents of Minnesota’s 5th District, like all Americans, are safer and more prosperous the more we engage with the rest of the world. As a district that prides ourselves on our diversity and commitment to human rights, it is also particularly important that I have defended American values and interests in trips abroad. Particularly after four years of Trump’s withdrawal of American leadership around the world, it has been incumbent on those of us who believe in the necessity of engagement with partners and adversaries alike to foster relationships and affirm our commitment to a just and safe world.



I have endorsed President Joe Biden for re-election, and I will work hard to make sure my constituents turn out to vote for him. I remember what my life was like under Donald Trump’s presidency, and I will do everything in power to prevent that from happening again.

At the same time, President Biden will need to earn the votes of the hundreds of thousands of people who have voted “uncommitted” in Democratic primaries. The way to do that is by actually listening to their concerns and making changes to U.S. policies and actions, not by silencing those concerns. 




When Covid hit in 2020 and schools nationwide closed down, millions of kids who received free or reduced-price meals were facing the prospect that they would not have food to eat. I authored the MEALS Act, which created a federal program for kids to receive food regularly while their schools were closed. This law fed nearly 30 million children during the pandemic. 

Solitary Confinement Amendment to HR 3055, Appropriations Minibus

This amendment expressed the view of Congress that federal prisons should significantly reduce – or end entirely – the inhumane use of solitary confinement. Solitary confinement has been shown again and again to be cruel, ineffective, and discriminatory. Our criminal justice system should be focused on rehabilitation, not retribution.

Office of Manufactured Housing Amendment to HR 3055, Appropriations Minibus

This amendment increased the funding for the Office of Manufactured Housing at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Across the country, manufactured housing remains one of the most affordable routes to homeownership. Private equity firms have seen this as an opportunity to price-gouge low-income homeowners by buying up the property under their homes, and then increasing the rental fees astronomically. My amendment would help HUD keep more people in their homes.

Overseas Amendment to HR 2500, NDAA FY2020

This amendment required the U.S. military to report on the financial costs and national security benefits of overseas military operations. To progressives, there is no question that the military’s budget is bloated, and it prevents us from investing taxpayer dollars in ways that would better serve the public. This is a part of my ongoing effort to reduce unnecessary military spending.

Human Rights Abuse Contractors Amendment to HR 2500, NDAA FY2020

Across the world, the Department of Defense pays billions to contractors to carry out work on our behalf. Many of those contractors have been credibly accused of human rights violations, and yet we continue to give them money anyway. This amendment would provide data to Congress about the human rights abuses happening on the taxpayer’s dime.

No Somalia Military Base Amendment to HR 2500, NDAA FY2020

The U.S. military has 750 bases around the world. Most Americans don’t believe such an extensive military operation worldwide is necessary – it is expensive, it doesn’t increase our safety, and it negatively impacts diplomacy with other countries. My amendment prohibits the Department of Defense from creating a new military base in Somali.

Terrorist Screening Database Amendment to HR3494, Intel Authorization Act

After the attacks on September 11, the U.S. started the terror watchlist. By some estimates, as many as 95% of the people on this list are Muslims, the vast majority of whom have never been charged with a crime. In addition to concerns about due process and discrimination, the federal government shares this list with multiple foreign countries that have appalling human rights records. Not only that – those countries can add names to this list without any recourse. My amendment kickstarted a Congressional oversight process to research and reform the terror watchlist.

Zero Waste Act in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act included a major provision from my Zero Waste Act, a federal investment strategy for recycling, composting, and waste reduction that was drafted in collaboration with local zero waste experts. Already, millions of dollars of funding is coming to the Fifth District to increase participation in composting and recycling under this program. 

Give Properties around the St. Anthony Falls Upper Lock to the City of Minneapolis in WRDA 2020

Under an act of Congress, the St. Anthony Falls Upper Lock was closed to barge traffic in 2014 in order to stop the spread of invasive carp into the Mississippi headwaters. Following that action, the Army Corps of Engineers – the owner of the Lock infrastructure adjacent to the Stone Arch Bridge – began a process to determine the future of this site. I worked with my colleagues to pass a provision that would transfer much of this property to the City of Minneapolis so it could be redeveloped by an Indigenous-led group named Owámniyomni Okhódayapi. 

Keep the St. Anthony Falls Upper Lock under Public Ownership in WRDA 2022

Following the provision passed in 2020, the City of Minneapolis has been determining which parts of the property they want to redevelop with Owámniyomni Okhódayapi. For the parts of the property the City and Owámniyomni Okhódayapi did not want to own – including the Lock itself – the Army Corps appeared to be moving toward selling it to a private entity. My provision prevents the Corps from selling the property to any for-profit entity. It also added language to protect Minneapolis’s drinking water supply as the future of the Lock is determined.