The Republican Party has settled on a Chairman for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, assigned subcommittee chairs and vice-chairs, and has already provided a roster of members who will serve on the key Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet. The Democrats, on the other hand, have been quiet.
By all accounts, Henry Waxman (D-CA) will remain on hand to lead his party in the full committee, now as Ranking Member. But committee assignments are still under wraps, and talk of the Democratic replacement on Communications for the defeated Rich Boucher (D-VA) continues.
Bobby Rush (D-IL) appears to be the only member actively angling for the top of Communications. According to National Journal’s Tech Daily Dose, he has picked up support from the Congressional Black Caucus, MMTC and other key observers. However, ColorofChange.org, which has led the boycott effort against the Fox News Channel program of Glenn Beck, is said to be cool to Rush due to his positions on issues such as net neutrality.
However, the Rush candidacy has been thrown into question by the move to Commerce by Ed Towns (D-NY), who was Chair of the Oversight Committee but willingly exited the post as Democratic leadership looked for a member with a more aggressive personality to face off against new Oversight Chair Darrell Issa (R-CA), who has promised aggressive hearings aimed at many aspects of the Obama administration.
Towns would have seniority over Rush, and Daily Tech and The Hill’s Hillicon Valley both have reported he is entering E&C with his full seniority intact.
Hillicon notes that the level of courtesy between Towns and Rush is as high as it can get – when queried about the Communications post, both have indicated they would defer to the other.
Meanwhile, Anna Eshoo (D-CA) is still thought to be in the mix, and has edged ahead of another possible contender, Mike Doyle (D-PA), as his staff has indicated he would defer to Eshoo if the choice came down to the two of them.
Meanhwile, Cliff Stearns (R-FL) has exited the top Republican spot on Communications, which is going to broadcast favorite Greg Walden (R-OR), and taking over the chair of E&C’s Oversight Subcommittee (not to be confused with Issa’s full committee on oversight). But apparently old habits die hard – and one of the habits of Communications is grilling FCC commissioners. Stearns has promised to do just that over at his new subcommittee – he particularly wants to find out just what they think they are doing with their approach to network neutrality. However, he is also promising to devote time to health and energy issues.
Pictured: Cliff Stearns (R-FL)