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Posts in "Ranking Member Fights"
July 14, 2014
Updated 4:35 p.m. | The ranking Democrat on the House Administration Committee, Robert A. Brady, is demanding some oversight on Speaker John A. Boehner’s lawsuit against President Barack Obama.
Brady sent a letter to the Ohio Republican saying he expects Republicans to be “open and transparent” about how much money they use “in pursuing this highly dubious and partisan lawsuit.”
The Pennsylvania Democrat, as the ranking member of the House Administration Committee, seems to want some say over who handles the case, and he wants “normal oversight” on the contract.
Boehner is asking the House this month to approve filing a lawsuit against the president for not enforcing the employer mandate on the 2010 health care law.
Here is the full text of the Brady letter:
Dear Speaker Boehner:
Within the draft resolution to initiate a lawsuit against the President, we learned that you intend to seek authorization to “employ the services of outside counsel and other experts.” Such authority clearly falls under the jurisdiction of the Committee on House Administration, and as such, I am writing to express my expectation that Republicans will be open and transparent about the use of taxpayer money in pursuing this highly dubious and partisan lawsuit.
As evidenced by House Republicans’ conduct in the $2.3 million failed effort to defend the discriminatory and unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act in the courts, strong bipartisan oversight is clearly necessary in any plan to hire outside counsel. The Republican majority must not be permitted to use taxpayer dollars as a slush fund to award a no-bid contract to high-priced, politically connected Republican lawyers without any transparency or accountability to the House or the American people.
Our opposition to the deeply partisan basis of your lawsuit in no way diminishes the need for normal oversight of the terms of any contract signed by Republican Leadership obligating the House to pay millions of dollars on private attorneys. Therefore, I expect you will honor regular order through my committee, even with this highly irregular lawsuit.
The American people deserve to know how and where their tax dollars are being spent, and House Administration Committee Democrats insist on regular consultation and transparency in the selection criteria and process, cost, and lobbying connections of any counsel or experts hired in the name of the House.
Ranking Member, House Administration Committee
Correction: An earlier version of this post reported, due to an editing error, that the House would consider the lawsuit this week. The vote is expected later this month.
May 14, 2014
If Rep. John Conyers Jr. can’t win re-election after he was ruled ineligible for the Democratic primary ballot Tuesday, it could set up a fight for the ranking member slot on the Judiciary Committee, with House Democrats already divided in an increasingly ugly showdown between two colleagues vying for their party’s top slot on the Energy and Commerce Committee.
The re-election of Conyers has been thrown into doubt after the 25-term Michigan Democrat failed to collect valid signatures to qualify for the Democratic primary ballot.
Conyers could seek to keep his seat by challenging the ruling, launching a write-in campaign or running as an independent, but if none of those contingency plans pan out, it will leave an opening several of his colleagues could be eager to fill. Full story
April 25, 2014
In the campaign finance game, much hay is made over how much money a candidate can raise; in the race to be the next ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, however, it’s just as important how much money a candidate can spend on friends.
Rivals Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., and Anna G. Eshoo, D-Calif., showed in recent filings with the Federal Election Commission that they have raked in significant contributions from downtown donors in K Street lobby shops, in industries like technology and health care. But in their bids to succeed retiring California Rep. Henry A. Waxman as the powerful panel’s top Democrat, showing their clout and increasing their viability among their peers depends largely on how generous they can be with their checkbooks.
After all, when the time comes to chose the next ranking member of Energy and Commerce after the midterm elections, it won’t be outside interests, but the other 190 members of the House Democratic Caucus who will ultimately vote for either Pallone or Eshoo.
April 21, 2014
Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. received donations from health care groups and technology giants, and gave money to more than a dozen fellow Democrats, including some in vulnerable seats, a new filing for his leadership political action committee shows.
The New Jersey Democrat, vying for the ranking member slot on the Energy and Commerce Committee in a closely-contested race, raised $116,000 for Shore PAC in the month of March. Among the groups giving money were Microsoft, AT&T, Comcast and NBC Universal.
Pallone also racked up cash from health care groups, including the American Medical Association, American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Hospital Association, American Psychiatric Association, American College of Cardiology, American College of Surgeons Professional Association and the American Academy of Neurology.
He spent $49,000, according to the PAC filing.
Members he gave to include Reps. Nick J. Rahall II of West Virginia; Raul Ruiz of California; Kyrsten Sinema, Ann Kirkpatrick and Ron Barber of Arizona; Tim Walz of Minnesota; John Barrow of Georgia; Dan Maffei of New York and Timothy H. Bishop of New York; Carol Shea-Porter of New Hampshire and Brad Schneider of Illinois, among others.
Pallone’s rival for the panel position to replace retiring Rep. Henry A. Waxman, Anna G. Eshoo of California, raised $203,000 over the quarter, a longer filing period, for her leadership PAC. Her donations mostly came from high-tech and telecommunication firms.
April 16, 2014
Rep. Anna G. Eshoo’s leadership political action committee raised $203,000 — mostly from high-tech and telecommunication firms — as she bids to be ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. It is the first leadership PAC of the California Democrat’s nearly 22-year congressional career. First-quarter numbers for Eshoo’s main rival for the post, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., were not yet available.
Eshoo’s PAC was bolstered by contributions from the PACs of some powerful industry players who could come before the Energy and Commerce Committee, including Time Warner Cable, Comcast and NBC Universal, Google and Microsoft.
Leadership PACS are not just about receiving money, but about being able to spend cash, too, specifically in support of colleagues whose relationships could be professionally beneficial.
In her quarterly report, Eshoo revealed that she made donations to a number of her colleagues, including many in the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s Frontline program for vulnerable members. Members who received donations from Eshoo’s PAC include Rep. Nick J. Rahall II of West Virginia, John F. Tierney of Massachusetts, Raul Ruiz of California, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Ami Bera of California.
March 4, 2014
The long-running leadership rivalry between House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer is flaring anew as the two Democrats take different sides in the fight over who will be the top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee.
On Tuesday, Hoyer said he would back New Jersey Democrat Frank Pallone Jr. to succeed retiring Rep. Henry A. Waxman of California as the panel’s top Democrat in the 114th Congress.
“I’m not going to get into this publicly other than to say that I have historically been for the ranking member, the senior member, if that member is capable and able and if that member has contributed significantly to the legislative product, to the party efforts, and I think Frank Pallone has done all of those, but I’m not going to get into it further than that,” Hoyer said in his weekly media briefing. Pallone is the No. 3 Democrat on the committee.
Word had been circulating that Hoyer was supporting Pallone behind the scenes. The Maryland Democrat’s delicate articulation of support for Pallone is in stark contrast to Pelosi’s endorsement last week of fellow California Democrat Anna G. Eshoo, which she made with significant fanfare in a strongly worded letter circulated among her colleagues. Eshoo is No. 5 in seniority on the panel.
It’s uncommon for party stalwarts to insert themselves in committee races, particularly this early in the game — members won’t vote on committee assignments until after the midterm elections. It was also another break from the party’s usual deference to seniority.
But Pelosi’s unexpected decision to intervene on Eshoo’s behalf was a game-changer: What was at first a face-off between Eshoo and Pallone could now become another showdown between Pelosi and Hoyer, rivals who have often fought for the most influence among members of the House Democratic Caucus.
February 28, 2014
House Democrats could soon be at war.
The internal drama over who will take the top Democratic slot on the Energy and Commerce Committee next year has spilled into public view, with some lawmakers unhappy with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi for taking sides so early — or at all.
Pelosi stunned colleagues on Thursday with a letter outlining support for her fellow Californian and close friend Anna G. Eshoo against Frank Pallone Jr. of New Jersey, and now some Democrats find themselves in a difficult position. House Democrats put significant stock in years of service when doling out plum committee assignments, and the simple choice of picking the Energy and Commerce Committee’s current No. 3 — Pallone — now has been complicated by Pelosi’s endorsement of Eshoo, who is No. 5 in seniority.
Many lawmakers and aides told CQ Roll Call they don’t see stark enough differences between the members to justify waiving the seniority precedent and allowing Eshoo to leapfrog over Pallone. Both lawmakers, they have argued, are equally able to do the job, and there is little reason for Pelosi to choose sides so publicly in a move surely aimed at influencing undecideds.