Rep. Elijah E. Cummings is asking colleagues to support his bid to become the top-ranking Democrat on the House's investigatory panel.
The position would pit the Baltimore Democrat against 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 Overight and Government Reform in January. Current Chairman Edolphus Towns, a New York Democrat, is not seeking the ranking member position after control of the committee changes parties.
"Issa … has announced his intention to seek as many as 280 hearings in 2011 alone, in pursuit of obstructing some of the most significant legislative achievements from the 111th Congress and undermining the current Administration," Cummings said in a statement. "The Democratic Caucus must not cede to the new House Majority that wishes to move our nation backward, and must take every opportunity to defend against partisan attacks and the dismantling of policies that ensure security for hardworking Americans."
Cummings' main opponent for ranking member is Rep. Carolyn Maloney, the New York Democrat who is currently the second-ranking member. Towns is backing Maloney, according to Politico; Rep. Dennis Kucinich, also a member of the committee, has thrown his support behind Cummings.Cummings pledged "not to allow the Committee to tie the hands of our President and federal workforce, preventing them from fulfilling their duties to protect and serve the American people."