Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Joins New Congresswomen in Taking Over the House Oversight Committee
Amid ongoing investigations into President Trump’s campaign and potential dealings with Russia, a (mostly) brand-new group of women is taking over the House Oversight Committee. According to POLITICO, freshman congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York, Rashida Tlaib from Michigan, and Ayanna Pressley from Massachusetts, along with veteran senator Ro Khanna from California, will join committee chairman Elijah Cummings from Maryland.
The House Oversight and Reform Committee is responsible for investigating and overseeing various government matters. It’s now changing hands to Democratic control to reflect the Democrats’ new House majority following the midterm elections. This could signal more scrutiny of the president and his administration moving forward, since Democrats are probably more inclined to dig into Trump’s alleged wrongdoings than members of his own party.
The House Oversight Committee has the power to subpoena information from the Trump administration, which could make for compelling investigations with this new crew, particularly given that Tlaib, especially, has been outspoken in her desire to pursue impeachment against the president.
The next big item on the committee’s docket is hearing testimony from former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who was convicted of various crimes in December. In light of a recent BuzzFeed News report that claimed the Special Counsel’s Office has evidence that Trump encouraged Cohen to perjure himself before Congress (the SCO has disputed the accuracy of the story), it’s likely Cohen will be grilled by the new progressive members of the committee.
In addition, Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will soon appear before the committee to testify about a highly controversial “citizenship question” that Ross wants to add to the US census. A federal judge in New York recently decided that the question “violated the public trust,” and immigrant communities and rights advocates said the question was discriminatory.
Other Democrats in the House are hoping that the committee will be invigorated with its new, women-led crew of progressives. Tlaib’s Michigan partner in Congress, Dan Kildee, told POLITICO, “I want people to be aggressive, especially on that committee. It’s good to have people who aren’t afraid.” Certainly, if anyone is unafraid to go hard against the administration, it’s the progressive women of color who ran to help disrupt it.
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