From The American Prospect: The Establishment Strikes Back
The American Prospect has a story about how Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was bumped from getting onto the Energy and Commerce Committee:
Committee assignments are one of the least eye-catching parts of politics, but they’re also one of the most important ways in which actual political power is wielded. Certain committees in the House, like Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means, and Appropriations, have outsized influence and money power. (They are often called the “money” committees, not just because they’re where the action is but because members can earn lots of money in campaign contributions from industries with business before them.)
Deliberations over the next several days will be extremely important for progressives in the House, as they angle to lock down seats on these powerful committees for their members. To that end, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) was expected to secure a prized position on the Energy and Commerce Committee, a seat vacated by outgoing New Yorker Eliot Engel. Among other issues, the committee has jurisdiction over health care and climate change issues, a natural for a Congresswoman who has championed Medicare for All and the Green New Deal.
Ocasio-Cortez was expected to cruise comfortably to the position. She was the first to raise her hand for the seat, and she won the backing of dean of the New York delegation, Rep. Jerry Nadler. But last week, as Politico reported, Long Islander Kathleen Rice made an out-of-nowhere, last-second bid for the seat, interrupting the process. Rep. Rice is a backbencher from the party’s right flank who, in 2018, refused to support Nancy Pelosi for Speaker. Without the support of Nadler, and with the famous opposition of steering committee leader Pelosi, Rice’s attempt didn’t seem to be serious.
But in a surprise, last-second Steering Committee meeting on exclusive committee assignments Thursday, which was scheduled at 10 p.m. the night before, centrist Democrats put on a show of support for Rice and against AOC, in what looks to have been a process-defying attempt to keep AOC out of the seat. Fellow New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries came out in support of Rice, contra Nadler, as did Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Diana DeGette (D-CO), author of a book called Chemicals Used in Hydraulic Fracturing.
Alex Sammon has an interesting twitter thread about it that starts here:
Last night, in a surprise, last second meeting, the Democratic Party ambushed progressives in a major way, locking them out of crucial seats on the powerful Energy and Commerce committee, and keeping AOC out of a position she was thought be a lock for. https://t.co/p5uj2PRhEl
— Alex 🤕 Sammon (@alex_sammon) December 18, 2020