House Republicans have announced new committee chair recommendations, and critics have been quick to point out a certain repetitiveness in the choices.
All 19 of the proposed committee leaders are white men. The sole woman to lead a committee in the current Congress, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, will be handing her gavel over to a newcomer because her term limits have expired.
Lawmakers in charge of committees exert a powerful role in determining whether legislation will make it to a full floor vote. Some of those committee assignments will take on outsize importance, depending on the issues the incoming Congress tackles -- one new chair to watch, for instance, is Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, who as leader of the Judiciary committee, will be the point man on immigration.
Most of the current chairs will be returning. Among them is Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, who will resume his role as party finance guru from atop the Budget Committee. Rep. Darrell Issa of California, who spearheaded an investigation of the botched Fast and Furious program that many critics called a brazen attempt to embarrass the Obama administration, will continue to lead the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Two committee assignments, Ethics and Administration, are still up for grabs and could ultimately be filled by women. Female lawmakers did get some leadership spots on the House Republican Conference: Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington will be conference chairwoman, Kansas Rep. Lynn Jenkins vice chairwoman, and North Carolina Rep. Virginia Foxx conference secretary.
Rep. Ann Wagner of Missouri, who took over the seat vacated by Todd Akin when he announced a Senate run, will represent the freshmen class in leadership.
Here is a full list of the newly announced chairs, with the new assignments in bold:Agriculture – Rep. Frank Lucas (OK)Appropriations – Rep. Hal Rogers (KY)Armed Services – Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (CA)Budget – Rep. Paul Ryan (WI)Education and the Workforce – Rep. John Kline (MN)Energy and Commerce – Rep. Fred Upton (MI)Financial Services – Rep. Jeb Hensarling (TX)Foreign Affairs – Rep. Ed Royce (CA)Homeland Security – Rep. Mike McCaul (TX)Intelligence – Rep. Mike Rogers (MI)Judiciary – Rep. Bob Goodlatte (VA)Natural Resources – Rep. Doc Hastings (WA)Oversight and Government Reform – Rep. Darrell Issa (CA)Rules – Rep. Pete Sessions (TX)Science, Space, and Technology – Rep. Lamar Smith (TX)Small Business – Rep. Sam Graves (MO)Transportation and Infrastructure – Rep. Bill Shuster (PA)Veterans’ Affairs – Rep. Jeff Miller (FL)Ways and Means – Rep. Dave Camp (MI)