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Democrats give Rep. Jamie Raskin leading role on oversight panel

Maryland Democrat gained prominence as a critic of former President Donald Trump and on House select committee investigating Jan. 6

Rep. Jamie Raskin and Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn are pictured during a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda on Dec. 6.
Rep. Jamie Raskin and Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn are pictured during a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda on Dec. 6. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats elected Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland as ranking member on the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Thursday, as the caucus nailed down its committee leadership for two years in the minority.

Raskin, who gained prominence as a critic of former President Donald Trump, will play opposite Rep. James R. Comer, R-Ky., the incoming chair of a panel with broad investigative powers. Raskin beat back a challenge from Rep. Gerald E. Connolly of Virginia in a 133-75 vote Thursday morning, according to a person in the room.

In the current Congress, Raskin chaired the oversight panel’s Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Subcommittee. Raskin served as a manager for both impeachments of former President Donald Trump, as well as a member of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Thursday’s vote also leapfrogged Raskin ahead of several more senior members of the committee, including Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, D-Mass., who declined to run for the role. The contested election for the Oversight Committee was one of the only open questions about Democratic committee leadership next Congress.

Comer has laid out a muscular agenda focused on investigations of the Biden administration, President Joe Biden’s son Hunter and tech companies like Twitter.

In an interview with Newsmax on Monday, Comer said he would bring FBI leadership before Congress to testify, particularly about their efforts to quash a story about Hunter Biden’s laptop before the 2020 election.

“The government has no business in censoring speech, whether it’s liberal speech or conservative speech. They have no business doing it. This is another act by the deep state, out of control, and Republicans in the majority in January are going to have to do something about this,” Comer told Newsmax.

Raskin will replace Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y., who leaves Congress after losing an intraparty primary to Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., earlier this year.

Incoming Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., praised Raskin and the other ranking members in a statement Thursday. “As we chart our path forward, it is crucial that we have strong, principled leadership at the helm of each of our committees,” Jeffries said.

Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., congratulated Raskin on the victory and tweeted shortly after the vote that he was “proud to be on his whip team and looking forward to his great leadership in this new role!”

At an event Wednesday, Jeffries pointed out that Democrats are still waiting to iron out an agreement with Republicans on committee seat allocations.

While Democrats finished ironing out their committee leadership structure Thursday, some Republican leadership still appears up in the air. Rep. Kevin McCarthy won an internal poll to lead Republicans, but a conservative portion of the caucus has publicly campaigned against him, threatening to deny him enough votes to become House speaker.

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