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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Nearly five months after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced the creation of the bipartisan Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth, it's not been formed much less met.

Why it matters: Select committees are designed to address urgent matters, but the 117th Congress is now nearly one-quarter complete without this panel assembling. When she announced this committee, Pelosi described it as an "essential force" to "combat the crisis of income and wealth disparity in America."

  • Pelosi has said privately she first wants to impanel a 9/11-type commission to investigate the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol.
  • A senior Democratic aide told Axios she'll then fill the select committee.
  • The Capitol siege panel has been delayed, though, by a partisan fight about its composition and the scope of its investigation.

The big picture: Wealth and income equality was at a record high before the pandemic.

  • It's only been exacerbated by the coronavirus.
  • The Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth is expected to be a prime perch for the party's emboldened more liberal wing as its members seek a more influential voice in the Democratic caucus.
  • It would consist of 15 House members, including six Republicans, and run through the end of the 117th Congress in January 2023.

The intrigue: Staff in the offices of several progressive members told Axios the promised committee was "a great selling point," as one termed it, as Pelosi campaigned to be reelected speaker.

  • It also fueled progressive support for the House rules package, since it was a promised component of the norms by which the chamber operates in each Congress.
  • “This was supposed to be a sweetener for some House progressives who were on the fence about the package,” a senior aide to a progressive member told Axios.

Be smart: The Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth would recommend urgent policies similar to those already provided by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis.

  • The latter is chaired by House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) and was carried over from the 116th Congress.
  • It met March 25 and has issued numerous news releases.

Go deeper

Nine House Democrats say they won't vote on budget unless infrastructure bill passes

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) speaks during her weekly press briefing on August 6, 2021. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Nine House Democrats on Thursday sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) warning that they would not vote on a budget resolution until the $1 trillion infrastructure package passes the House and is signed into law, Punchbowl News reported.

Why it matters: The pledge threatens Democrats' plan to pass both a multitrillion-dollar spending package and the bipartisan infrastructure package, which Pelosi has pledged to take up at the same time. With only a slim majority in the House, Pelosi can only lose three Democratic votes.

House raises max salary for staff to nearly $200,000

Nancy Pelosi walking to the House Floor. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

The House of Representatives is raising its maximum annual salary for staff to $199,300, up from $173,900, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Thursday.

Why it matters: The move is intended to help "recruit and retain the outstanding and diverse talent," Pelosi wrote in a letter to colleagues. It's also aimed at ensuring pay parity between House staff and other federal government employees, she added.

China builds its own movie empire

Expand chart
Data: Gower Street citing Comscore; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

China blocked all four of Disney's Marvel movies from being released in its theaters last year, a grim sign for U.S. film giants being squeezed out of the world's fastest-growing box office.

Why it matters: The Chinese Communist Party is using domestic films as a key conduit for mass messaging aimed at achieving political goals, leaving little room for foreign views.

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