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New House Progressives embrace their coveted Oversight Committee assignments
“[House Republicans] seemingly have already decided that they are going to misuse the committee and I’m not going to be here for it,” Rep. Jasmine Crockett, a freshman from Texas said to Supercreator.
The House Democratic Caucus on Thursday released the committee assignments for first-term members. And while many freshmen received roles on several high-profile panels, it’s the eight newbies on the powerful House Oversight and Accountability Committee who made instant headlines.
It’s easy to understand why too: The Oversight Committee will be the nexus of a series of investigations over the next two years into the Biden administration, the president’s family, the border crisis and the origins of COVID-19.
Supercreator caught up with a few freshmen last night outside the House floor and each said they see their role two-fold: First, push back against what they see as harmful rhetoric from the most extreme House Republicans, some of whom were also assigned seats on Oversight. And second, the new members say they will defend the Biden administration and congressional Democrats’ legislative achievements from the last Congress.
What the freshmen are saying: Democratic. Rep. Robert Garcia of California told Supercreator that the Oversight Committee was his first choice and he will use his role on the committee to push back against House conservatives, including Republican Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Lauren Boebert of Colorado.
“It’s going to be a lot of work but I’m excited to do it,” Garcia, who is the freshmen class president, said.
Maxwell Frost, the 25-year-old Zoomer representing inland central Florida, predicted Oversight would be a politically charged committee under the new House majority but feels he’s up for the challenge.
“They’re going to weaponize that committee to go against the Biden administration, every good thing Democrats did the last two years,” Frost said. “And it’s funny because they have a select committee about the weaponization of the federal government when they’re going to weaponize this committee against the good things that poll well, that people like.”
Given her background as a lawyer, Rep. Jasmine Crockett of Texas, told Supercreator that her assignment on the committee is a good fit and she expects to make a meaningful contribution.
“They seemingly have already decided that they are going to misuse the committee and I’m not going to be here for it,” Crockett said. “I will check those that need to be checked when they need to be checked — and I’ll have the legal acumen to be able to do it.”
Garcia and Frost said their assignments reflect the trust House Democratic leaders have in the new members.
“I think the freshmen got what they really wanted and leadership’s been very great in supporting us.”
Frost added: “It shows that leadership is excited about having young people in Congress and they want us to be in a place where we can message and talk about what we believe in.”
The view from the GOP side: House Republicans say oversight of the executive branch is one of Congress’s key functions no matter the president’s party and that their investigations will be pursued in good faith.
They also feel held to an unfair double standard after House Democrats led investigations into and successful impeachment proceedings against former President Donald Trump.
A spokesperson for the committee did not respond to a request for comment.
What’s next: The Oversight Committee next Wednesday will hold its first hearing of the new Congress to investigate how the federal government spent the money from COVID-19 relief programs.
“I was mayor for eight years, the entire time during the pandemic, and we know how important vaccines are and saving lives are,” Garcia said. “And so their approach is going to be lies and distortions. And we’re gonna just try to come with truth, receipts and facts. And we’re going to bring the fire.”