House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) appointed Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger to serve as the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, anointing yet another Marylander to a prominent position in the Caucus.
The Maryland Democrat replaces Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas) in the top spot on the panel. Reyes served as chairman last year and stepped down this year due to term limits. Several Democrats who served on the panel last year were also term-limited off the panel this year.
Ruppersberger joins Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, Budget ranking member Chris Van Hollen and Oversight and Government Reform ranking member Elijah Cummings as Marylanders in high-profile spots in the Democratic Caucus. Pelosi is also a native of the state.
“Our first responsibility is to protect the American people. Central to fulfilling that task is providing our intelligence professionals with the tools and support to do their jobs and ensure our national security,” Pelosi said in a statement announcing the new committee lineup. “As a longtime Member of the Intelligence Committee and representing the district that houses the [National Security Agency], Congressman Ruppersberger brings years of experience to his new role — and he will be a strong voice for our safety in the 112th Congress.”
Other Democrats serving on the committee this year are: Mike Thompson (Calif.), Jan Schakowsky (Ill.), James Langevin (R.I.), Adam Schiff (Calif.), Dan Boren (Okla.), Luis Gutierrez (Ill.) and Ben Chandler (Ky.).
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.