Clyburn Wants ‘Halt’ to Biden Tapping House Democrats for Administration
WASHINGTON — Wary of a narrow majority, one of President-elect Joe Biden’s closest allies in Congress isn’t sure the Democratic Caucus can afford to see any more House members join the new administration.
“I think we better bring that to a halt,” Majority Whip James E. Clyburn told reporters Wednesday.
In addition to being the Democratic Party’s top vote counter in the House, Clyburn is also the chairman of Biden’s Presidential Inaugural Committee, which is in charge of the festivities (both in-person and virtual) away from Capitol Hill.
Clyburn’s endorsement of Biden ahead of his home state South Carolina primary was seen as a key to Biden reviving his campaign.
“Two votes I can handle,” Clyburn said. “I don’t know if I can handle three.”
Louisiana Democratic Rep. Cedric L. Richmond will be leaving the House to become a senior adviser to the president, as well as director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. Rep. Marcia L. Fudge, D- Ohio, is the widely reported choice to be Biden’s nominee to be secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Richmond’s seat will almost surely be vacated first, since he is in line for a White House position that does not require Senate confirmation. Once both seats are vacated there will potentially be as few 220 members of the Democratic caucus until the seats are filled through special elections.
House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer expressed similar concern about the Biden team taking Democrats from the House.
“I hope so,” Hoyer said when asked if he was confident the president-elect had made his last Cabinet pick from the ranks of his caucus.
“Two is too many, but three would be even more many,” Hoyer said.
The concerns of Hoyer and Clyburn about the math problem could be another bad omen for other House members who could be considered for senior Biden admiration posts, including New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland, whose name has been floated as a potential interior secretary pick and would be the first Native American to serve in that capacity.
Clyburn said he did not have any particularly unique concerns about Democratic caucus unity with the narrower majority that awaits him in 2021, but he did anticipate that the decision-making about the structure of legislation that reaches the House floor will reflect the reality of the numbers.
“I don’t know if I have any concerns about that, any more than I’ve always had. You know, keeping this party together is just like trying to keep a family together,” he said. “When you’ve got 20 votes to spare, it’s a little different when you’ve only got two.”
Lindsey McPherson contributed to this report.
(c)2020 CQ-Roll Call, Inc., All Rights Reserved
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC
In The News
WASHINGTON -- While economists warned about disruptions to the U.S. supply chain, Chuck Fowke told a congressional panel Wednesday about... Read More
WASHINGTON -- While economists warned about disruptions to the U.S. supply chain, Chuck Fowke told a congressional panel Wednesday about countertops. “If you can’t get the cabinets, you can’t put the countertops on,” Fowke said as he testified on behalf of the National Association of Home... Read More
CASCADE, Mont. (AP) — For the first time in 30 years, the Census has awarded Montana a second seat in... Read More
CASCADE, Mont. (AP) — For the first time in 30 years, the Census has awarded Montana a second seat in Congress. On paper, that leaves the state's redistricting commission with the easiest task of all its counterparts across the country: Divide the expansive state in half.... Read More
WASHINGTON (AP) — Scaling down his "build back better" plans, President Joe Biden on Tuesday described a more limited vision... Read More
WASHINGTON (AP) — Scaling down his "build back better" plans, President Joe Biden on Tuesday described a more limited vision to Democratic lawmakers of a $2 trillion government-overhaul package with at least $500 billion to tackle climate change and money for middle-class priorities — child tax... Read More
WASHINGTON — Nine-term Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of lying to... Read More
WASHINGTON — Nine-term Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of lying to the FBI and concealing information from federal agents investigating campaign contributions illegally made to him by a Nigerian billionaire. The indictment stems from an FBI investigation... Read More
WASHINGTON - The Biden administration is reversing course on a proposal that would have required banks to flag private accounts... Read More
WASHINGTON - The Biden administration is reversing course on a proposal that would have required banks to flag private accounts to the Internal Revenue Service when an individual deposit or withdrawal exceeded $600. A revised plan, expected to be announced by Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden,... Read More
WASHINGTON -- A Senate committee tried Tuesday to chart a better course through the minefield of monetary sanctions against U.S.... Read More
WASHINGTON -- A Senate committee tried Tuesday to chart a better course through the minefield of monetary sanctions against U.S. foreign adversaries. The Senate seeks to protect U.S. economic policies without trampling foreign entities that could be trading partners and allies. However, in an age of... Read More