House Dems recommend Maloney to head Oversight Committee

Matthew Daly
Associated Press

Washington – A House Democratic panel on Tuesday recommended that Rep. Carolyn Maloney lead the powerful House Oversight and Reform Committee, and if the party’s caucus goes along, the veteran New York lawmaker would have an influential role in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.

By a 35-17 vote, the House Democratic Steering Committee chose Maloney, the Oversight Committee’s acting head, over Virginia Rep. Gerry Connolly. House Democrats planned a vote Wednesday on the recommendation.

FILE - In this Oct. 31, 2019, file photo, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, acting chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, joined at left by Rep. Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, meet with reporters to discuss the next steps of the impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump, at the Capitol in Washington.

The steering committee includes members selected by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. Its recommendations are usually, but not always, endorsed by the full caucus.

Maloney, Connolly and Massachusetts Rep. Stephen Lynch were seeking to replace the late Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, who died last month. Lynch was eliminated in the first round of balloting.

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.

It also is one of three committees leading the impeachment inquiry, although the most visible leader is the House Intelligence Committee, whose chairman if Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.

Maloney, who lost out to Cummings as the committee’s top Democrat nearly a decade ago, is the panel’s longest-serving Democrat. She has led the committee on an acting basis since Cummings’ Oct. 17 death and won endorsements from the next two longest-serving Democrats, Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District of Columbia’s delegate, and Rep. William Lacy Clay of Missouri.

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 Monday that she is “focused on discussing the chairmanship directly with my colleagues.”

Connolly, 69, is in his sixth term representing northern Virginia and said before the vote that Democrats needed “to put the most capable team on the field we can.’’

Lynch, 64, is in his 10th term representing suburban Boston and acknowledged he faced an “uphill battle” against Maloney’s seniority.

Maloney has served on the committee since 1993. She 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 the Oversight Committee.