House Democrats Hand DeLauro Appropriations Gavel

December 3, 2020 by Dan McCue
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (Screenshot via Twitter)

WASHINGTON – In the end, it wasn’t even close. After a year of behind-the-scenes campaigning by a trio of candidates, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, of Connecticut, has been chosen to lead the House Appropriations Committee in the 117th Congress.

Both Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, of Florida, and Marcy Kaptur, of Ohio, also sought the role, but in the end neither garnered the support they needed.

The final vote, in which DeLauro faced only Wasserman Schultz, saw the close ally of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and longtime friend of outgoing Appropriations Chair Nita Lowey, win 148-79.

Kaptur, who dropped out of the race, had endorsed DeLauro right before the Democratic Caucus vote.

Once the 117th Congress convenes, DeLauro’s first job, no doubt, will be marshalling a significant coronavirus relief bill through her committee, regardless of whether a relief bill makes it through the current lame duck Congress.

DeLauro will also be pressed early to fulfill a promise to left-leaning Democrats that she’ll act to do away with the Hyde amendment, added to an appropriations bill 43 years ago, that prevents the use of federal funds for abortions, with some limited exceptions.

Those who want the provision removed argue that it unfairly burdens low-income women who are more likely to rely on federal assistance for health care.

In addition to policy changes, DeLauro will take over the appropriations panel just as the spending caps imposed by the 2011 deficit-reduction law end.

What that means is that for the first time in a decade, Appropriations and other budget-related committees will set the total discretionary spending level for the upcoming fiscal year themselves.

Once the committees agree to a number, it’ll be up to DeLauro to divide it among the 12 subcommittees that draft portions of the appropriation resolution to come up with spending plans for everything from defense and education to funding the federal government.

The million dollar question around all this is whether she’ll be able to get any by-in from Republicans in the House or Senate or whether the budget process and DeLauro’s position on issues like federal funding for abortions become high-profile campaign issues in 2022.

Shortly after DeLauro was elected the next Appropriations chair, the retiring chairwoman, Rep. Nita Lowey, of New York, said her successor “has been a legislative partner of mine for three decades.

“She has been a tireless advocate for the most vulnerable people in our nation and has always been an inspiration to me. As the chair of the Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee this Congress, she has been integral to our committee’s success in delivering for the people,” Lowey said.

“More importantly, Rosa has been one of my closest friends for my entire tenure in Congress. I treasure the memories we have made together, particularly our work with Speaker Pelosi to elevate issues of special importance to women and families that earned us the sobriquet DeLoSi,” she said.

Lowey added: “As I prepare to leave Congress, I know that the Appropriations Committee and the purse strings it controls are in good hands with Rosa. I look forward to watching her fight for Democratic values and American priorities in the years to come.”

In related news, the House Democratic Caucus re-elected Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr., of New Jersey, to be chairman of the House Energy Committee and Richard Neal, of Massachusetts, to be chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

“I am honored to be elected chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee once again by my Democratic colleagues,” Pallone said in a statement. “There is no better committee in Congress, and I am so fortunate to have their support in leading this committee in the 117th Congress.

“Our nation faces unprecedented challenges, and I stand ready to work with all of my colleagues to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, provide critical assistance to struggling families, and rebuild our economy,” he said. “In the coming months, we will push an aggressive agenda to ensure the Biden Administration has all the resources it needs to crush this pandemic, make health care and prescription drugs more affordable, rebuild and modernize our nation’s infrastructure, combat climate change, and protect people’s privacy.

“We will also examine how to rebuild and restore critical functions of key agencies under the committee’s jurisdiction that were dismantled over the last four years by the outgoing Trump Administration,” Pallone added.

As for Neal, he said remaining chairman of the Ways and Means Committee is “the honor of my life.”

“I am immensely grateful to my colleagues for entrusting me with this responsibility,” he continued. “This past Congress, Ways and Means Democrats wasted no time with our majority. We passed legislation to lower prescription drug prices, increase Americans’ retirement savings, redesign the IRS, reduce the number of children requiring placement in foster homes, and provide expanded tax credits to low-wage workers and middle-class families. Our members led the way in improving and passing the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement and conducted robust oversight of the Trump Administration at every turn.”

“Of our many achievements, I am most proud of the committee’s swift and innovative leadership through the COVID-19 health and economic crises,” Neal added. “Our significant contributions to Congress’s pandemic relief packages saved both lives and livelihoods. We’re not out of the woods yet, though. The American people need us now more than ever, and I look forward to the committee working closely with the Biden Administration not only to recover from this horrific virus and accompanying recession, but to build back even better.”

In a statement released after the votes, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “Our Caucus, the Congress and the nation have been blessed and strengthened by the strategic experience, bold vision and tireless service that these outstanding Members bring to the table.

 “With their gavels, our brilliant chairs will harness their diversity of backgrounds and experiences to unify our Caucus as our House Majority, in partnership with the Democratic Biden-Harris Administration, continues to work together to deliver results For The People,” she said.

The statement was accompanied by a list of all the named chairs, including the first African-American chairs ever named to lead the Agriculture and Foreign Affairs committees.

They are:

Agriculture: David Scott of Georgia

Appropriations: Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut

Armed Services: Adam Smith of Washington

Budget: John Yarmuth of Kentucky

Education & Labor: Bobby Scott of Virginia

Energy & Commerce: Frank Pallone of New Jersey

Financial Services: Maxine Waters of California

Foreign Affairs: Gregory Meeks of New York

Homeland Security: Bennie Thompson of Mississippi

House Administration: Zoe Lofgren of California

Judiciary: Jerrold Nadler of New York

Natural Resources: Raúl Grijalva of Arizona

Oversight & Reform: Carolyn Maloney of New York

Rules: Jim McGovern of Massachusetts

Science, Space & Technology: Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas

Small Business: Nydia Velázquez of New York

Transportation & Infrastructure: Peter DeFazio of Oregon

Veterans’ Affairs: Mark Takano of California

Ways & Means: Richard Neal of Massachusetts


Hoyer Calls for 'Modernizing' House Approach to Staff Pay, Benefits
Hoyer Calls for 'Modernizing' House Approach to Staff Pay, Benefits
April 16, 2021
by TWN Staff

WASHINGTON - House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told a Select Committee on Thursday that it's high time Congress was brought into alignment with the best practices of the private sector when it comes to employee recruitment and retention. Appearing before the House Select Committee on the... Read More

35 States at Extreme Risk of Partisan Gerrymandering
In The States
35 States at Extreme Risk of Partisan Gerrymandering
April 16, 2021
by TWN Staff

Thirty-five states are at extreme or high risk of partisan gerrymandering, according to an in-depth report by the nonpartisan RepresentUs organization. The Gerrymandering Threat Index rates all 50 states, and its authors argue their findings underscore the urgent need to pass the redistricting reforms within the... Read More

Biden Gets Mixed Response to Affordable Housing Stimulus Plan
Biden Gets Mixed Response to Affordable Housing Stimulus Plan
April 15, 2021
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- A Biden administration plan to increase affordable housing drew sharp warnings from Republicans about adding to the U.S. budget deficit during a congressional hearing Wednesday. Meanwhile, Democrats said the $213 billion plan for affordable housing more equitably distributes wealth. They largely disagreed it would... Read More

DC Statehood to Go Before Full House Next Week
DC Statehood to Go Before Full House Next Week
April 15, 2021
by TWN Staff

WASHINGTON - A bill that would make the District of Columbia the 51st state made it out of the House Oversight and Reforms Committee on Wednesday, and will come up for a vote in the full House next week. Last June, the House passed legislation that... Read More

Rep. Kevin Brady Won't Seek Reelection
Rep. Kevin Brady Won't Seek Reelection
April 14, 2021
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, the top Republican on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, announced Wednesday that he will not seek reelection next year after serving since 1997. "This term, my 13th, will be the last," Brady said during remarks before the Woodlands... Read More

Biden Wants Infrastructure Deal, But GOP Doubts Persist
Biden Wants Infrastructure Deal, But GOP Doubts Persist

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden wants Congress to know he's sincere about cutting a deal on infrastructure, but Republican lawmakers have deep-seated doubts about the scope of his proposed package, its tax hikes and Biden's premise that this is an inflection point for the U.S.... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top