Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif, is opting in the 113th Congress to restructure his Oversight and Government Reform Committee so that D.C. legislation is handled at the full committee level rather than through a subcommittee.
The move signals that Issa will remain one of the city’s staunchest allies on Capitol Hill. It also provides another example of the influence of his mentor, former Rep. Thomas M. Davis III.
The Virginia Republican was committee chairman in the 108th and 109th Congresses. Before his appointment to lead the full panel, Davis oversaw the D.C. Subcommittee, during which time he forged a strong working relationship with D.C. Democratic Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton.
“I just said, ‘this makes a lot of sense to bring [D.C. affairs] under the full committee, it being one of my chief interests,’” recalled Davis, who supported voting rights and District self-determination, of his decision to scrap the D.C. subcommittee.
D.C. issues were restored to subcommittees’ legislative dockets in the 110th and 111th Congresses. The same was true in the 112th Congress, with Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., chairing the subcommittee of jurisdiction.
Gowdy fostered a good rapport with local officials. When he announced he’d pursue a new leadership role with the Judiciary Committee, Issa decided to take D.C. legislation to the full committee level for the sake of continuity, a committee spokesman said.
Gowdy suspects there was another reason: “There was rarely a hearing we had related to the District that he did not show up and participate in.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.