Norton will not be able to cast votes in the Committee of the Whole, but the District’s delegate will retain her unlikely ally, Republican Rep. Darrell Issa , who will consider D.C. affairs as chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
In the previous Congress, Issa was not the only Republican member on the D.C.-focused committee to strike a balance between being hands-off and lending a helping hand if needed: Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., then a freshman, was given the chairmanship of the subcommittee of jurisdiction and he quickly earned Norton’s respect.
When Gowdy announced recently that he would relinquish the subcommittee gavel to serve in a leadership position on the House Judiciary Committee, an Oversight and Government Reform Committee spokesman said Issa opted to take the reins of D.C. affairs at the full committee level for the sake of “continuity.”
It also just made sense, the spokesman continued, given Issa’s interest in the issues and his commitment to finishing what he began during the 112th Congress.
Issa has spent the past two years working to unlink D.C.’s budget from the congressional appropriations process and will likely continue that effort in the months ahead. He is awaiting the findings of a study he commissioned that will set the course for whether Congress can revisit the law governing the height of buildings in the District. He has even floated interest in allowing the city to impose a commuter tax.
Gowdy, who said he wants to remain active on D.C. issues as he continues to serve on the full panel in the 113th Congress, agreed that the move was a good idea.
“There was rarely a hearing we had related to the District that Issa did not show up and participate in,” Gowdy said. “He most assuredly is interested and engaged and likes the issues.”
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.