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DeLauro wins AFL-CIO backing in Appropriations gavel bid

Endorsement from Richard L. Trumka adds to support from other unions

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., speaks during a news conference on child care relief bills in the Capitol Visitor Center on July 29, 2020.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., speaks during a news conference on child care relief bills in the Capitol Visitor Center on July 29, 2020. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Rosa DeLauro on Monday snagged a big labor union endorsement in her bid to become the next House Appropriations chairwoman.

AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka endorsed the Connecticut Democrat in a tweet, adding to prior union statements of support from American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and National Education Association President Becky Pringle.

“A workers first agenda means raising wages and investing in infrastructure, education, health care, clean energy and workplace safety. That agenda will be in good hands with @rosadelauro as @AppropsDems Chair,” Trumka tweeted. 

DeLauro is currently chairwoman of the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee, which writes the largest domestic spending bill each year. The House version, which that chamber passed in July, totaled nearly $185 billion, not counting emergency funds related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

DeLauro is competing against Ohio’s Marcy Kaptur and Florida’s Debbie Wasserman Schultz to take over the spending panel in January. House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y., is retiring after the 116th Congress.

House Democrats are expected to vote for the next chairwoman the week of Nov. 30, giving the three candidates just a few more weeks to lock down votes at an uncertain time for the party.

Following last week’s loss of Democratic seats in the House, some moderate members have urged party leaders to pursue more centrist legislation and avoid moving any further left politically. Progressives have pushed back against that idea, saying Democrats’ message ensured the party controls the House and, starting in January, the White House.

DeLauro’s endorsements from core Democratic organizations could help her with both moderates and progressives, but she has competition on endorsements.

Kaptur has touted support from Democratic Reps. Mark Takano of California and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, as well as Ohio colleagues Joyce Beatty, Marcia L. Fudge and Tim Ryan.

Wasserman Schutlz has received the backing of Reps. Emanuel Cleaver II of Missouri and Alcee L. Hastings of Florida. While she hasn’t received the formal backing of House Democratic Whip James E. Clyburn, D-S.C., he supported a proposal she released this summer to establish an advisory panel to address systemic racism in the annual government funding process.

Clyburn has spoken fondly of Wasserman Schultz in the past, telling the Post and Courier in 2016 that “Debbie is one of my best friends.”

DeLauro also enjoys support in leadership, including a long-term friendship with Lowey and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., that could boost her odds of getting the gavel next Congress.  

“We must fight not simply for an end to this pandemic and for full recovery from the past four years but for investments that create a better future for our workers and their families,” DeLauro said in a statement Monday.

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