Nearly all of the Democrats on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee who won re-election on Nov. 2 have lined up behind Chairman Edolphus Towns in his battle to retain the ranking spot on that panel next Congress.
Fourteen committee Democrats wrote a letter Sunday to their Democratic colleagues urging support for the New York lawmaker, who has drawn a challenge from Rep. Dennis Kucinich for the top minority position. The Ohio Democrat announced his candidacy last week in a letter to Members, pledging to stand up to presumptive Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who is expected to put the Obama administration under a microscope.
Committee Democrats said in their Sunday letter that they are confident in Towns’ leadership.
“During the 111th Congress, Ed Towns amply demonstrated the ability and effectiveness needed to lead the full committee,” the lawmakers wrote, adding that Towns “had an aggressive oversight agenda focused on issues of critical importance to the American people and has also advanced several significant legislative initiatives to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and transparency of the federal government.”
“As many of us know, being in the minority will bring some unpleasant changes,” the lawmakers wrote. “We will need determined leadership to battle any partisan attack on the Administration. Ed Towns will provide that leadership.
Reps. Stephen Lynch (Mass.), Marcy Kaptur (Ohio) and Mike Quigley (Ill.) were the only current committee Democrats — other than Kucinich — who did not sign on to Sunday’s letter.
Towns has already gained the endorsements of the New York delegation and the Congressional Black Caucus.
Leaders from military and veterans service organizations joined Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Kelly Ayotte , R-N.H., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., at a press conference to urge the Senate to replace a provision in the budget proposal that cuts retirement benefits for veterans. Wicker, Ayotee, and Graham earlier called for a bipartisan solution to replace the $6.3 billion in cuts to military retiree benefits.
Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year's report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows it took a net worth of $6.67 million to crack the exclusive club.