Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned from the Judiciary Committee today so she would have more time to focus on her job as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.
“I really had unofficially stepped down a few months ago, when I became DNC chair. I just submitted the formal letter the other day,” the Florida Democrat said in an interview. “I’ve been taking a leave of absence because I want to make sure the person who sits on the Judiciary Committee is more able to attend meetings than I’ll be able to with the responsibilities I have at the DNC.”
Wasserman Schultz joined the Judiciary Committee at the beginning of the 112th Congress. She had previously served on the panel before leaving to join the Appropriations Committee in 2006, her second year as a lawmaker.
She said she will maintain her seat on the Budget Committee because it “is obviously front and center in terms of what we’re focusing on in terms of priorities.”
Judiciary ranking member John Conyers said the plan was always to have Wassermann Schultz join the committee on a temporary basis.
“She was only on temporarily, and they put somebody else on in her place,” the Michigan Democrat said. “As chair of the caucus, she didn’t have time for another committee.”
Conyers said he did not know who is going to be named to replace her.
It is not uncommon for chairmen of parties’ political operations or members of leadership to sit on just one committee, or none at all.
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (N.Y.) does not hold a seat on any committee, Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson (Conn.) and Vice Chairman Xavier Becerra (Calif.) sit only on the Ways and Means Committee, and National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Session (Texas) sits only on the Rules Committee.
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.