Aug 24, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Democrats eye top spot on oversight panel after Maloney loss

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.).
Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), chair of the House Oversight subcommittee on the environment. Photo: Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

Several House Democrats are eyeing the top spot on the House Oversight and Governmental Reform Committee just one day after Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), the committee's current chair, lost her primary.

Why it matters: If Republicans win the House majority in November, the panel's ranking member will be Democrats' point-person on countering a vast array of planned probes into the Biden administration.

Driving the news: Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.)'s name "has been floated in conversations about the top spot on Oversight given his leadership as Chair of the House Oversight Environmental subcommittee," a Democratic House aide told Axios.

  • The aide added that "no decisions have been made" as to whether Khanna will vie for the gavel.

The backdrop: Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), who chairs the subcommittee on governmental operations, announced in a statement on Wednesday that he was running for the top spot.

  • "We need a tested leader who will not be timid in the face of Republican insurrectionists," he said. "I believe I can be that leader."
  • Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), the chair of the national security subcommittee, sent out a letter to colleagues, first reported by Punchbowl News, noting he is "the most senior member of the Oversight Committee seeking this position."
  • Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), who chairs the civil rights and civil liberties subcommittee, told Punchbowl he's "strongly considering" a run.

Eleanor Holmes Norton, Washington D.C.'s delegate to Congress, is second in seniority after Maloney. She said in a statement she will continue running for the top spot on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, rather than Oversight.

What’s next: The role will be chosen by a vote of Democratic caucus members at the start of the next Congress.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that the role will be chosen by a vote of Democratic caucus members, not just members of the committee.

Go deeper