Becerra to Stay in House

Posted December 16, 2008 at 8:08pm

Averting a potentially divisive Democratic leadership race, Rep. Xavier Becerra (Calif.) will stay in Congress as the vice chairman of the Democratic Caucus and forgo an offer to serve as U.S. trade representative in the Obama administration.

In a statement, Becerra called the trade job “the opportunity of a lifetime,” but he pointed to the lure of unfinished business in the House.

“I am grateful for that privilege and now see a rare opportunity to push across the goal line much of the unfinished business of America,” Becerra said.

Becerra’s decision short-circuits a race to replace him as Caucus Vice Chairman. Democratic Reps. Kendrick Meek (Fla.), Joe Crowley (N.Y.), Hilda Solis (Calif.) and Marcy Kaptur (Ohio) had expressed interest in seeking the post if Becerra decided to leave.

In staying put, Becerra also retains a coveted slot on the Ways and Means Committee.