Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) was elected to chair the prestigious U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee on Wednesday following the death of Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD).
The Oversight and Reform Committee is the House’s primary investigative committee. It has broad legislative authority and jurisdiction, which makes it one of the most influential panels in Congress. The Oversight chairman is one of only three in the House who have the ability to issue subpoenas without a full panel vote or consulting the ranking member.
The Oversight Committee is also one of the congressional panels leading the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, and as the chair, Maloney will have a key role in the proceedings.
“I am deeply humbled and grateful to my colleagues for entrusting me with the chairmanship,” Maloney said in a press release. “I’m honored by this opportunity to do more for the American people and will do my best to follow the honorable example that Chairman Cummings left for us all. There’s much work to be done, and I can’t wait to get started.”
Maloney, who has represented New York’s 12th Congressional District for 14 terms, has been leading the committee on an acting basis following the death of Cummings earlier in October. She initially joined the committee in 1993 when she was first elected to Congress and unsuccessfully challenged Cummings for the chairmanship in 2010.
Maloney is currently the panel’s most tenured Democrat member and she is also the first woman to lead the influential committee in its entire 92-year history. She is also a close ally of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
“Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney has been a force for progress in America for decades,” Pelosi said in a statement. “At the helm of the Joint Economic Committee, she has honed a keen understanding of the priorities and needs of the American people, and has worked tirelessly to deliver progress that lifts up families in every corner of America. She brings outstanding legislative experience and knowledge of the workings of the Congress that will strengthen the Oversight Committee’s work at this critical time in our nation’s history.”
House Democrats voted on Wednesday to elect Maloney, who edged out Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-VA) by a margin of 133 to 86 for the position. Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) was also briefly vying for the position before he ultimately dropped out of the race.
The New York lawmaker, however, received a host of significant endorsements for the position, including from Reps. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) and Lacy Clay (D-MO), two of the longest serving Democrats and Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), the third-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives.
Maloney, who’s district includes a large portion of Manhattan, is most well-known for advocating on behalf of the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks and their families. In May, she famously wore a New York Fire Department (FDNY) jacket to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s gala in order to bring awareness to the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund. The bipartisan legislation was signed two months later virtually ensuring permanent financial support for first responders and their families.
“Congratulations to [Maloney] on her election to serve as the first woman Chair of the [Oversight Committee],” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD). “I know she will continue on the path set forward by Rep. Cummings while bringing her own perspective and years of experience to this role.”