House Democrats on Wednesday continued a discussion about adding vice ranking members to committees to give more members an opportunity to serve in leadership roles but deferred a vote on the matter until a later meeting.
The Democratic caucus will meet again, as early as Thursday, to decide whether to approve the vice ranking member posts as an amendment to the caucus rules, members said.
“We just didn’t have a lot of members that were there, and so they want to have a fuller discussion with more members present,” said California Democratic Rep. Linda T. Sánchez, vice chairwoman of the caucus.
Rep. Cheri Bustos, who co-chairs the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, said she thinks the amendment will pass and noted that no one spoke out against the change Wednesday.
“This was just to include newer members as kind of ceremonial co-chairs of committees,” the Illinois Democrat said.
During discussions of the idea last year, some members, primarily from the Congressional Black Caucus, expressed concerns about how the proposal would affect the current seniority system that Democrats typically adhere to for committee leadership. At the time, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi announced that the proposal would limit vice ranking members to one term.
The caucus did vote on Wednesday to adopt an amendment to the rules, approving the addition of the previously announced DPCC co-chairmen (Bustos, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York and David Cicilline of Rhode Island), and representatives to leadership for freshmen and for members who have served five terms or less. Hawaii Rep. Colleen Hanabusa is the freshman representative and California Rep. Tony Cárdenas serves in the other role.
Also on Wednesday, the caucus approved the Democratic Steering Committee’s recommendation of Minnesota Rep. Tim Walz to serve as ranking member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee. California Rep. Mark Takano, who took over as the committee’s acting ranking member following former Florida Rep. Corrine Brown’s indictment last year, was interested in the post but offered his support to Walz on Monday.
“I look forward to bringing a soldier’s perspective to the 115th Congress and working with veterans, the VA and my colleagues to uphold our nation’s promises to those who have served and sacrificed,” Walz said in a statement. “Let’s get to work.”