Rep. Elijah Cummings has been elected the top Democrat on the House’s principle investigative panel.
The Baltimore Democrat can now look forward to two years of combat with incoming chairman Darrell Issa, the California Republican who has pledged wide-ranging investigations of the Obama administration when the GOP takes control of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in January.
In seeking to become ranking member, or leader of the committee minority, Cummings had said he would not allow the oversight committee “to tie the hands of our President and federal workforce, preventing them from fulfilling their duties to protect and serve the American people.”
The position will put Cummings first in line to become chairman of the committee should the Democrats regain control of the House. Earlier, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, a Montgomery County Democrat, was named ranking member of the House budget committee.
After his election by the Democratic House Caucus on Thursday, Cummings spoke of the oversight committee’s importance in the coming Congress, “as we continue to seek the causes and solutions of our economic downturn, as we attempt to stem the tide of fraudulent foreclosures in America, and as we ensure our citizens’ money is spent effectively and efficiently by the Federal Government."He continued: “I understand the power of the Committee and how it can be utilized for progress and growth, or for obstruction and attack. I strongly believe in the mission of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that is embodied in that Committee’s very name: to conduct meaningful oversight of government operations and identify methods for improving government processes.
“I am ready to stand beside the new Majority as they continue the hard work Democrats have begun, seeking real solutions to the problems that trouble our government and our nation. I understand the urgency of ensuring that government effectively completes its missions and serves the needs of our citizens. I will hold this Administration to the highest standards and will vigorously exercise the Congress’ responsibility of overseeing executive action.”