It’s flying a bit under the radar, but there’s an interesting power play underway in the House. With Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) set to become chairman of the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee — and promising to move aggressively to investigate the Obama Administration — Democrats in the House and the White House were worried that the outgoing chairman, Rep. Ed Towns (D-NY), was not up to the task of standing up to Issa and fending off runaway investigations. So there’s been a move afoot since Election Day to replace Towns as ranking member.
It was not a well-kept secret that Towns was on the outs. Apparently seeing the handwriting on the wall, Towns announced yesterday he was no longer in the running to be ranking member, a pretty extraordinary concession from a sitting chairman.
Now the issue is who gets the top Democratic slot on the committee. Rep. Dennis Kucinich was in the running, but now he’s dropped out, too, and is backing Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD). Despite initial reports that Towns was also backing Cummings, he’s come out for the next most senior Dem on the committee, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). So it looks like it comes down to Cummings or Maloney. Brian Beutler has the latest.
David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.