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Himes named ranking Democrat on House Intelligence

Replaces Schiff, who was removed from committee by McCarthy

Connecticut Rep. Jim Himes, right, was named ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee to succeed California Rep. Adam B. Schiff, center.
Connecticut Rep. Jim Himes, right, was named ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee to succeed California Rep. Adam B. Schiff, center. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut will serve as the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee after Speaker Kevin McCarthy blocked Rep. Adam B. Schiff from the panel.

Citing what he said were national security concerns, McCarthy last week denied seats on the committee to two California Democrats: Schiff, the former chairman, and Rep. Eric Swalwell. That opened up the spot that House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., ultimately selected Himes for.

In a statement, Himes said he was “deeply honored” to be chosen. He added that the men and women of the intelligence community “need and deserve our support and thanks. At the same time, aggressive oversight is critical to ensuring that their activities, often conducted in secret, are consistent with our constitutional and moral values.”

Schiff kicked off his campaign to succeed Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., in the Senate last week after McCarthy ousted him from the Intelligence panel. Schiff said the speaker’s move was “political retribution” for his role managing former President Donald Trump’s first impeachment trial.

As a member of the Intelligence Committee who had the most seniority after Schiff, Himes played a key role in the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. He was an early and forceful voice in 2019 for impeaching Trump, making the case before then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders made a similar call.

But Himes also has cultivated a reputation as a moderate who can work with Republicans. In his statement, Himes said he’s “developed a strong relationship” with the panel’s chairman, Michael R. Turner of Ohio, and that he looks forward to “continued collaboration in our shared, bipartisan mission.”

As a member of the Financial Services Committee, Himes teamed with Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina in 2019 on legislation making it a federal crime to trade securities based on insider information.

Himes, a former chairman of the New Democrat Coalition, has been criticized by some liberal Democrats for his close ties to the financial services industry.

A fixture on the cable news circuit, Himes has served in the House since 2009. He unseated Rep. Christopher Shays, the last Republican member of Congress from Connecticut.

In November, Himes beat his Republican opponent, Jaymie Stevenson, by nearly 18 percentage points.

Himes was born in Lima, Peru, to American parents and grew up speaking both Spanish and English, before moving with his family to New Jersey when he was 10. He earned a degree from Harvard University and was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University.

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