Rep. Carolyn Maloney Wins House Oversight Committee Chairmanship

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) speaks at a news conference in the Manhattan in 2017. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

Rep. Carolyn Maloney will become the first woman to chair the powerful House Oversight Committee, taking over the gavel from the late Rep. Elijah Cummings.

Maloney, a New York Democrat, defeated Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) in a 133 to 86 vote to choose a new chair among House Democrats Wednesday evening.

Cummings passed away suddenly at 68 on October 17 due to complications arising from long-term health issues. The Baltimore native and civil rights advocate became the first African-American and African-American lawmaker to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol, and his death elicited emotional tributes from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

Maloney was endorsed to take over from Cummings by the most powerful African-American member of Congress, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.).

The Oversight Committee is one of three House committees spearheading the impeachment inquiry against President Trump. Witnesses are appearing this week before the House Intelligence Committee, chaired by Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.). The House Foreign Affairs Committee, chaired by Rep. Eliot Engel (D., N.Y), also joins the other two committees in working to extract documents and testimony from impeachment witnesses.

Murmurs floated through the Democratic caucus about whether Maloney would be a match for the more aggressive Republicans on the panel, such as Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, as the impeachment hearings progressed, but her supporters shot down that criticism as sexist.

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