House Dems to Choose Panel Leader 11/19 06:14
WASHINGTON (AP) -- As impeachment hearings resume on Capitol Hill, House
Democrats are preparing to choose who will lead the powerful Oversight and
Reform Committee --- a key role in the ongoing impeachment inquiry of President
Three veteran lawmakers, including Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York, the
acting chairwoman, are seeking to replace the late Rep. Elijah Cummings of
Maryland, who died last month.
Reps. Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts and Gerry Connolly of Virginia also are
seeking the post.
The House Democratic Steering Committee will make a recommendation on
Tuesday, with the full Democratic caucus set to vote Wednesday.
The committee has a broad portfolio, including oversight of the Trump
administration's handling of the census and immigration matters, as well as
investigations into Trump's business dealings and security clearances granted
to White House officials.
Oversight also is one of three committees that have been leading the
impeachment inquiry, although the most visible leader remains House
Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff of California.
Maloney, who lost out to Cummings as the committee's top Democrat nearly a
decade ago, is seen as the front-runner. The panel's longest-serving Democrat,
Maloney has led the committee on an acting basis since Cummings' Oct. 17 death
and has won endorsements from the next two longest-serving Democrats,
Washington, D.C., Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton and Rep. William Lacy Clay of
Maloney, 73, is in her 14th term representing a district that includes much
of Manhattan, including Trump Tower.
She declined to be interviewed, but said in a statement that she is "focused
on discussing the chairmanship directly with my colleagues."
Connolly, 69, in his sixth term representing Northern Virginia, said he has
"substantial support" for the chairman's post "and it's growing.''
In a letter hand-delivered to House colleagues, Connolly said the Oversight
election "is not a business as usual decision. The American people must see the
main investigative body of Congress as a force for accountability that upholds
our constitutional duty to conduct oversight of the executive. That was the
legacy left by Elijah Cummings. That is the work that must continue.''
Connolly, an outspoken Trump critic, said in an interview that Democrats
"need to put the most capable team on the field we can,'' adding that he has "a
demonstrated ability to lead, a firm commitment" to Oversight and experience as
the chairman of the subcommittee on government operations.
Lynch, 64, in his 10th term representing suburban Boston, said he hopes to
continue the work begun by Cummings and is "ready and eager to protect and
defend the Constitution and the rule of law."
Lynch acknowledged in an interview that he faces an "uphill battle" against
Maloney's seniority, but pointed out that he has served on the committee for 18
years and chairs the subcommittee on national security.
Maloney, who has served on Oversight since 1993, is best known for her years
of advocacy for victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and famously wore a New
York firefighter's jacket at the Capitol and even at the Met Gala until she
could secure permanent authorization for a victims' fund. A measure making the
9/11 fund permanent was a rare example of a bipartisan bill signed into law
earlier this year.
Maloney also serves on the House Financial Services Committee, reflecting
the importance of the financial industry in her district. She was a key sponsor
of a corporate transparency bill approved by the House last month. Maloney has
agreed to give up her role leading a subcommittee on investor protection and
capital markets if elected to head Oversight.