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Larson Denied House Admin Waiver

Amid pressure from the Democratic Caucus to prevent one lawmaker from holding two influential committee seats, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) requested that Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.) step down Wednesday as ranking member of the House Administration Committee.

Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-Calif.), who has served on the panel since 2003, will ascend to the ranking member post. It is not clear who will round out the panel’s Democratic membership, which also includes Rep. Robert Brady (Pa.), if Larson vacates the committee altogether.

The Minority Leader’s decision came as a surprise to Larson, who had expected to retain his position despite being tapped to serve on the exclusive Ways and Means Committee earlier this month.

Party rules prohibit Caucus members from holding a seat on another committee while serving on “exclusive” panels such as the Ways and Means or Appropriations.

Democratic members of the House Administration panel, however, are appointed by the party’s leadership, rather than through the typical process in which the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee selects lawmakers who are then confirmed by the full Caucus.

But a Democratic aide said Wednesday that Pelosi decided against granting Larson a waiver to remain the ranking member, based on a precedent set in the 108th Congress. At that time, Pelosi declined to grant Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.) a waiver to serve on the House Administration panel after being appointed to Appropriations.

The move upset members of the Congressional Black Caucus, as well as Fattah, who had been next in line to become the panel’s ranking member.

Millender-McDonald joins a growing list of California Democrats infused with added power under the Pelosi’s leadership, joining the likes of Reps. George Miller and Jane Harman in the Minority Leader’s inner circle.

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