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February 13, 2016

Posts in "Ranking Member Fights"

October 20, 2015

4 Times Paul Ryan Broke Ranks With GOP


Ryan has earned praise for working across the aisle, but that may hurt him with his own party's most conservative members.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Ryan has earned praise for working across the aisle, but that may hurt him with his own party’s most conservative members. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When Wisconsin Rep. Paul D. Ryan ran for vice president on Mitt Romney’s ticket in 2012, he was known as an Ayn Rand-inspired conservative policy wonk who advocated turning Medicare into a voucher program.

A year later, in December 2013, he was heralded as a compromiser for crafting a budget deal with Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., that averted another government shutdown.

If Ryan runs for speaker, as many colleagues have urged, he’ll have to negotiate the legacies of both of those reputations. Full story

October 1, 2015

A Tale of Two Republicans: McCarthy and McConnell


Can McCarthy and McConnell get along? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Can McCarthy and McConnell get along? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy knows one way to remain popular with conservatives is to trash the Senate, even if it is led by Republicans. But the California Republican, the front-runner to be the next speaker, will have to work with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to advance mutual interests.

The two men know each other, but they aren’t particularly close. That’s in part because of how quickly McCarthy has moved up the House ranks — going from majority whip to majority leader to the cusp of the speakership in a little more than a year. Full story

June 9, 2015

Pallone Seeks Balance Between Deal-Making, Party Messaging


Pallone, Jr., D-N.J., speaks during the news conference on the Takata airbag recall outside the Capitol on Tuesday, June 2, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Pallone is carving out his own legacy on Energy and Commerce. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Several months after winning a competitive race to be ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. wants to downplay the drama.

The New Jersey Democrat said last year’s “showdown” with Rep. Anna G. Eshoo, the California Democrat with whom he shares a corridor in the Cannon House Office Building and whom he calls a friend, wasn’t nearly as bruising as outsiders perceived it. Full story

April 16, 2015

Cleaver’s Civility a Key Part of His Leadership Appeal


Rep. Emanuel Cleaver

Cleaver isn’t campaigning to move up into House Democratic leadership, but the Missouri lawmaker is on a lot of short lists if a spot opens. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Every power player in Washington, D.C., has a different metric for what makes a day a success. For one Missouri Democrat, it comes down to whether he was able to do his job without stepping on people.

“I want to say, ‘I did nothing today to intentionally hurt anybody.’ I want to be able to say that every night,” Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II said in a recent interview. “If I live that way, people will probably like me.” Full story

December 30, 2014

Kevin McCarthy, Ben Ray Luján Among Capitol Hill’s Big Winners in 2014


 House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., participates in the press conference announcing House GOP leadership for upcoming session of Congress on Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

McCarthy was one of 2014’s big winners. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Not every member of Congress had an A+ year.

Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., became the first majority leader in decades to go down in a primary; Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., only barely avoided being explicitly implicated for campaign finance fraud.

Full story

November 19, 2014

Walz Gets VA Committee Spot After Messy Process


Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., speaks to the media about the transportation bill following the Democratic Caucus meeting in the Capitol Visitor Center on Tuesday, June 19, 2012. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Walz will serve again on Veterans’ Affairs. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sometimes a consolation prize makes all the difference, Minnesota Rep. Tim Walz learned Wednesday.

After party leaders appeared to have blocked the Minnesota Democrat from running for ranking member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Walz — who is the highest-ranking enlisted soldier to serve in Congress — ended up getting much of what he wanted anyway.

He will be on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee in the 114th Congress, and he will have a larger role with veterans service organizations. Full story

CBC Rallies to Defend Brown, Democrats’ Seniority System


(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Brown, who had the most seniority, is the new ranking member of the VA Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Wednesday was a good day for the Congressional Black Caucus: In just a matter of hours, the powerful group saw Democrats’ seniority system — a tradition that has long protected minority lawmakers from being passed over for leadership positions — prevail not once, but twice.

First, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. — the No. 3 Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee — beat the No. 5 panel Democrat, Rep. Anna G. Eshoo of California, in the race to be ranking member.

He’s not a member of the CBC, but Pallone showed that lawmakers had no intention of bowing to pressure from some party leaders, such as Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, to disregard the House Democratic Caucus’s deference to the decades-old seniority precedent. Full story

Pallone Defeats Eshoo for Energy and Commerce Slot (Updated)


UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 08:  Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., waits for the start of a news conference to introduce the "Arsenic Prevention and Protection from Lead Exposure in (APPLE) Juice Act of 2012," that would require the EPA to establish standards for arsenic and lead in fruit juices to better protect consumer health.  Rep. Roas DeLauro, D-Conn., is also a sponsor.  (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Pallone topped Eshoo, 100-90. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:57 p.m. | In a triumph for the seniority system and a blow to Nancy Pelosi’s clout, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. of New Jersey beat Rep. Anna G. Eshoo of California in a hard-fought race for ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee.

Eshoo had Pelosi’s support and won the backing of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee Tuesday afternoon, but the full caucus early Wednesday morning voted to give the plum assignment to Pallone.

The final tally was 100-90. Full story

Messy Fight for Veterans’ Affairs Ranking Member Slot (Updated)


Brown, left, and Walz, center, are vying for the ranking member position on the Veterans' Affairs Committee. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Brown, left, and Walz, center, each are vying for the ranking member position on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 9:28 a.m. | Rep. Tim Walz of Minnesota thought there would be a vote after Thanksgiving on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee ranking member race. As it turns out, his face-off against Rep. Corrine Brown of Florida will happen on Wednesday.

It gives Walz less time than he and his allies said they anticipated to build support around his uphill challenge of Brown, who benefits from seniority and the backing of the Congressional Black Caucus, of which she is a member.

Before the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee can meet to vote on a recommendation to the full House Democratic Caucus, Walz will have to clear an additional hurdle: A vote on whether he is even eligible to hold the post.

Walz is the highest-ranking enlisted soldier to ever serve in Congress and has had a seat at the Veterans’ Affairs Committee table since 2007. He is, however, on the committee via waiver, and his opponents say it doesn’t qualify him to run against Brown, who after nearly two decades on the committee is next in line to succeed the current retiring ranking member, Michael H. Michaud of Maine. Full story

Luján Pledges to Bring Farmer’s Work Ethic to DCCC


UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 17: Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., speaks during a press conference after being selected by Minority Leader Pelosi to serve as the next chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Monday, Nov. 17, 2014. Outgoing DCCC chair Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., looks on. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Luján, right, will bring a quiet intensity to his job as Israel’s replacement at the DCCC. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who has ruffled plenty of feathers lately, reclaimed some goodwill with her caucus Monday, bypassing more established members to name Ben Ray Luján the next chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

It won’t erase all of the negativity percolating among her flock — demoralized after Election Day and antsy over the stasis at the leadership table — but the decision to elevate the New Mexico Democrat is being called “smart” and “savvy,” even by those who count themselves among Pelosi’s critics.

Rep. Maxine Waters of California, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and the top Democrat on Financial Services, said Pelosi’s pick was “refreshing” and “lovely.” Full story

November 18, 2014

Eshoo Wins Backing of Steering and Policy Committee Over Pallone


Eshoo and Pallone are vying for the ranking membership of the Energy and Commerce Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Eshoo and Pallone are vying for the ranking membership of the Energy and Commerce Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Anna G. Eshoo of California has won the recommendation of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee to be the next ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee — but she’s not out of the water yet.

At 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning, the full caucus will vote between her and Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. of New Jersey, closing the chapter on what has been the most fraught committee leadership race of the cycle. Full story

November 17, 2014

High Stakes for Pelosi, Party With Energy and Commerce Fight


Eshoo and Pallone are locked in a race for the Energy and Commerce ranking member slot. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Eshoo and Pallone are locked in a race for the Energy and Commerce ranking member slot. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 11:50 a.m. | It started as a race to choose the next ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee; it could ultimately end as a referendum on the status quo.

When House Democrats finally settle the score this week, their choice between Reps. Frank Pallone Jr. of New Jersey and Anna G. Eshoo of California could send a strong message about how deeply members still hew to the seniority system.

And in a caucus growing increasingly antsy over the stasis at the leadership table, this ranking member election could be the closest thing to an up-or-down vote on Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi that members get for the next two years.

Pelosi, who has repeatedly endorsed her close friend Eshoo, is expected to run unopposed for a sixth full term as the House’s top Democrat.

Lawmakers will not say so publicly, but many of them think that if Eshoo loses, it will be because she became a casualty of greater frustrations within the caucus.

The fight sparked by California Democrat Henry A. Waxman’s retirement announcement in January became so dramatic because there was never a clear front-runner or an easy choice. Stakeholders agree Pallone and Eshoo’s policy positions are nearly identical, and their legislative records are unblemished.

So members were forced to consider other factors: Who called them first to ask for their vote? Who gave them money in a tough re-election bid? Who has always been their friend? Full story

November 13, 2014

Black Caucus Defends Seniority System as Members Try to Buck the Trend


Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, speaks during the Congressional Black Caucus news conference to discuss today's Supreme Court decision on Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, Shelby County v. Holder on Tuesday, June 25, 2013. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Don’t undercut seniority, warns Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Fudge. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Congressional Black Caucus is fighting back against new suggestions — particularly coming from the very top of House Democratic leadership ranks — that seniority ought not be the be-all-end-all when it comes to doling out plum committee leadership assignments.

Spearheaded by outgoing Chairwoman Marcia L. Fudge, D-Ohio, the CBC sent out a “dear colleague” email Thursday night to reiterate its support for seniority “as the primary determinant in the committee leadership selection process.”

Under the current system, the CBC would be represented at the top of seven House committees — a record CBC members contend was only possible because seniority prevents black lawmakers from being passed over, intentionally or otherwise.

Fudge’s email comes as the conference weighs a ranking-member race on Energy and Commerce between the more-senior Frank Pallone Jr. of New Jersey and Anna G. Eshoo of California.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has endorsed her close friend Eshoo multiple times over the past 10 months, on Monday going so far as to send out a letter of her own, calling seniority “a consideration” but “not a determination.”

The real test for the CBC, however, could be if one of its own members, Rep. Corrine Brown of Florida, loses the ranking member spot on Veterans’ Affairs to the least-senior member of the panel, Rep. Tim Walz of Minnesota. Full story

November 12, 2014

Grijalva Faces Clear Path to Natural Resources Ranking Member


Rep. Raul M. Grijalva

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva is making his second bid in a year for ranking member on the Natural Resources Committee — but this time, he appears poised to win.

In a caucus that values seniority, the Arizona Democrat and co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus has one lawmaker ahead of him — Rep. Grace F. Napolitano of California — in the panel hierarchy.

Last week, Napolitano said she had not yet made any decisions about whether she would run to replace Rep. Peter A. DeFazio, D-Ore., who wants to be the ranking member on Transportation and Infrastructure. But Napolitano’s spokesman said Wednesday night that the congresswoman spoke with Grijalva earlier in the day and she had given him her endorsement. Full story

November 10, 2014

Pelosi Downplays Seniority System in Endorsing Anna Eshoo for Committee Assignment


Ranking member rivals Eshoo and Pallone chatted recently at a press conference. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Ranking member rivals Eshoo and Pallone. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

On Monday afternoon, and for the third time this year, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi endorsed her close friend and fellow Californian Rep. Anna G. Eshoo for ranking member on the Energy and Commerce Committee — and said House Democrats should consider seniority “a consideration” but “not a determination” in doling out committee leadership assignments.

The minority leader’s suggestion that colleagues loosen up on a long-held deference to the seniority system in regards to Eshoo’s bid against the more senior Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. of New Jersey is likely to ruffle feathers across the House Democratic Caucus.

It might be particularly irksome to members of the Congressional Black Caucus, which sees seniority as a way to protect their own from being passed over for chairman and ranking member slots. Full story

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