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‘Squad’ Members Elevated to Key House Committees

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D.,-N.Y.) (L) and Rashida Tlaib (D.,Mich.) (R) talk as they accompany other freshmen House Democrats on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., January 16, 2019. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) and Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) will both serve on the House Financial Services Committee, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office announced Thursday.

Earlier this month both congresswomen were also selected to serve on the House Oversight Committee.

Meanwhile, fellow progressive “Squad” member Representative Ayanna Pressley (D., Mass.) was chosen to join the Oversight and Reform Committee.

“In the election, the American people elected a Democratic House Majority that not only will ensure that our nation recovers from this historic pandemic and economic crisis, but will Build Back Better,” Pelosi said in a statement Thursday announcing dozens of committee assignments, including that of Representative Eric Swalwell of California to the Homeland Security Committee.

Republicans have asked Swalwell to step down or be removed from the House Intelligence Committee over his past ties with alleged Communist spy Fang Fang. He was on the Homeland Security Committee from 2012 to 2014, before the FBI had made him aware of Fang’s activities, after which he cut ties.

Pelosi said in a statement that the “outstanding Members” would be “relentless in leading Democrats’ work to combat disparities in our economy and country and to advance justice and progress For The People.”

Ocasio-Cortez, one of the youngest members of Congress, had previously accused Pelosi, an octogenarian, of not appointing younger representatives to leadership positions. 

Ocasio-Cortez last month told The Intercept that the “internal dynamics of the House has made it such that there’s very little option for succession if you will.” 

She said she believes new, younger leaders should replace Pelosi and incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who is 70.

Last week Pelosi grew defensive when 60 Minutes reporter Lesley Stahl asked why Ocasio-Cortez has complained that she had not been “grooming younger people for leadership.”

Pelosi said, “I don’t know. You’ll have to ask her — because we are.”

Stahl countered that the speaker’s response was “dismissive” of the New York congresswoman and Pelosi said that was not her intention. 

Ocasio-Cortez is “very effective, as are others — many other members in our caucus that the press doesn’t pay attention to. But they are there and they are building support for what comes next,” she said. 

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