Could Pelosi Pick ‘Squad’ Member as Next Oversight Committee Chair?

HOYER: Cummings told House Dems on Sunday they ‘should continue’ with the ‘heavy lifting’…

Could Pelosi Pick 'Squad' Member as Next Oversight Committee Chair?

Rashida Tlaib / IMAGE: Time via Youtube

(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) In a Twitter tribute to the late Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., President Donald Trump observed that “[h]is work and voice on so many fronts will be very hard, if not impossible, to replace!”

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a fellow Maryland Democrat, said Thursday that despite his failing health, Cummings had been on a telephone call with Democrats last Sunday and encouraged them to “continue [with the] heavy lifting.”

While Cummings’s district surrounding the northeastern sector of Baltimore likely remains safely blue, speculation now turns to how Democrats will compensate for the loss of one of Trump’s most fervent adversaries, as well as being among the most powerful and influential African–Americans in Congress.

In addition to filling Cummings’s open House seat, also on the line is the chairmanship of the House Oversight Committee—one of six that has led the way in the ongoing impeachment investigations of Trump—where several of the ambitious freshman congresswomen on the notorious ‘Squad‘ hold spots.

MD-07 Seat

Maryland law dictates that Republican Gov. Larry Hogan must issue a proclamation within the next 10 days about holding a special election in Maryland‘s 7th Congressional District, the Baltimore Sun reported.

A primary must follow within 65 days, and a general election within 65 days of that.

“The whole process could be five months,” Jared DeMarinis, the state elections board’s director of candidacy and campaign finance, told the Sun. “And that’s moving it along.”

Included on the likely shortlist to fill the open seat is Cummings’s widow, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, who currently chairs the Maryland Democratic Party and previously considered a run for governor.

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Maya Rockeymoore Cummings / IMAGE:
Center for Global Policy Solutions. via Youtube

However, Rockeymoore Cummings—whose name previously surfaced in 2017 to fill her husband’s seat as he mulled a possible Senate run—is in the midst of an ethics scandal.

According to a complaint from the National Legal and Policy Center, she allegedly misused funds for a nonprofit by funneling them into a similarly named for-profit operation.

Another possible contender is Ben Jealous, former chairman of the NAACP, who ultimately ran unsuccessfully as the Democrat last year opposing the incumbent Hogan.

Whoever emerges the victor will have no time to rest as their re-election battle will be right around the corner in the November election.

Oversight Committee Chair

Cummings’s passing puts the current makeup of the House at 234 Democrats and 197 Republicans and is likely to do little to impede the impeachment push.

Yet, it may cast further uncertainty on the time-frame and political calculus of the hastily launched probe with the 2020 election season in full swing.

Could Pelosi Pick 'Squad' Member as Next Oversight Committee Chair? 1

Carolyn Maloney / IMAGE: Nancy Pelosi via Youtube

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-NY, a veteran of the House for more than a quarter-century, will serve as acting chair of the Oversight Committee, the Sun reported, citing an anonymous senior Democratic leadership aide.

But several other prominent Democrats also hold seats on the committee, including three members of the ‘Squad’: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio–Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.

While all could lend their name-recognition clout to the leadership role—as well as their outspoken advocacy for impeachment, which would likely roil Trump to the extreme—the freshman congresswomen have done little to ingratiate themselves to Pelosi, frequently questioning the careful political stratagems endorsed by House leadership in favor of swift, radical action.

Also on the committee is Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., the former chair of the Democratic National Committee, who is experienced, outspoken and well-connected.

However her past scandal—resigning in disgrace from the DNC post after leaked emails revealed she had colluded with the Hillary Clinton campaign to secure the 2016 presidential nomination against Sen. Bernie Sanders—may have alienated her with some in the party’s progressive arm.

Fox News’s Chad Pergram offered an additional list of prospective names to fill the chairmanship based on their seniority on the committee.

Both Norton and Clay are African–American, which may factor into the consideration of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.