Schakowsky, Quigley to take on big roles in Demo­cratic House

Chicago Sun-Times - - TOP NEWS - LYNN SWEET lsweet@sun­times.com | @lynnsweet

WASH­ING­TON — When the Democrats take over the House in Jan­uary, Illi­nois Reps. Jan Schakowsky and Mike Quigley will be among the top power play­ers.

Quigley, poised to be­come what is nick­named a “Car­di­nal” on the Ap­pro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tee, told me on Thurs­day that with his new power, “I can help dra­mat­i­cally bring re­sources back to the re­gion, into the state.”

Schakowsky is in line for three in­flu­en­tial spots: chair of an En­ergy and Com­merce sub­com­mit­tee; chief Deputy Whip; and as a mem­ber of the Democrats’ Steer­ing and Pol­icy Com­mit­tee, which con­trols cru­cial com­mit­tee as­sign­ments and shapes pol­icy and mes­sage.

An­other Illi­nois Demo­crat, Rep. Cheri Bus­tos, is an­gling for a lead­er­ship spot as ei­ther chair of the Demo­cratic Con­gres­sional Cam­paign Com­mit­tee or as the Democrats’ as­sis­tant leader.

Schakowsky is a mem­ber of Demo­cratic leader Nancy Pelosi’s in­ner cir­cle and a strong backer of Pelosi’s bid to be­come speaker of the House.

The 18 Illi­nois House mem­bers elected on Tues­day in­clude 13 Democrats and only five Repub­li­cans.

There is a lot of ma­neu­ver­ing be­hind the scenes from those look­ing to get on the top pan­els: Ap­pro­pri­a­tions, Ways and Means and En­ergy and Com­merce.

Here’s a snap­shot on the Illi­nois im­pact of the Democrats grab­bing the House from Repub­li­cans:

Quigley, a mem­ber of the House Com­mit­tee on Ap­pro­pri­a­tions, will be­come the chair of its Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices sub­com­mit­tee. The Ap­pro­pri­a­tions panel has 12 sub­com­mit­tees, and those chairs are re­ferred to as “Cardinals” on Capi­tol Hill.

That panel has ju­ris­dic­tion over the ju­di­ciary and also holds the purse strings over many other units of govern­ment, in­clud­ing: the Gen­eral Ser­vices Ad­min­is­tra­tion; Con­sumer Prod­uct Safety Com­mis­sion; Fed­eral Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion; Fed­eral Elec­tion Com­mis­sion; and the Of­fice of Govern­ment Ethics.

Quigley, who has gained a na­tional pro­file for his work on the House In­tel­li­gence panel, will now have a more pow­er­ful plat­form to restart in­ves­ti­ga­tions deal­ing with Rus­sia and Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump; elec­tion se­cu­rity and whether Trump im­prop­erly blocked the mov­ing of FBI head­quar­ters in or­der to ben­e­fit his ho­tel across the street.

Schakowsky, a mem­ber of the En­ergy and Com­merce Com­mit­tee, is in line to chair the Dig­i­tal Com­merce and Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion sub­com­mit­tee.

Dan Lip­in­ski, a mem­ber of the Trans­porta­tion and In­fra­struc­ture Com­mit­tee, told me he has a “de­cent chance” of be­com­ing the chair of the Rail­roads, Pipe­lines and Haz­ardous Ma­te­ri­als sub­com­mit­tee, which is a big deal for Chicago-area rail in­ter­ests, from freight to CTA to Me­tra to Am­trak.

Bobby Rush, also a mem­ber of the En­ergy and Com­merce Com­mit­tee, is “ex­pected to take over the chair­man­ship of the En­ergy Sub­com­mit­tee,” his spokesman told me, with his agenda to be “de­vel­op­ing an in­fra­struc­ture pack­age that would in­clude re­sources for mod­ern­iz­ing the elec­tric grid, as well as up­grad­ing the na­tion’s nat­u­ral gas and lead wa­ter pipe­lines.”

Bill Foster, a mem­ber of the Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Com­mit­tee, told me on Mon­day, “I’m close to be­ing able to get a sub­com­mit­tee chair­man­ship” on the panel.

Brad Sch­nei­der is on three com­mit­tees: For­eign Af­fairs, Ju­di­ciary and Small Busi­ness. He is in line to chair the sub­com­mit­tee on Agri­cul­ture, En­ergy and Trade.

Robin Kelly is mak­ing the case to be on En­ergy and Com­merce.

Raja Kr­ish­namoor­thi, a mem­ber of the House Over­sight and Govern­ment Re­form Com­mit­tee, is poised to chair the Sub­com­mit­tee on Health­care, Ben­e­fits and Ad­min­is­tra­tive Rules — if there is no re­or­ga­ni­za­tion in the new Congress. That panel has broad ju­ris­dic­tion over health care pol­icy and So­cial Se­cu­rity.

Danny Davis, on the Ways and Means Com­mit­tee, is now the top Demo­crat on the Sub­com­mit­tee on Hu­man Re­sources and on the Over­sight and Trade sub­com­mit­tees and is in po­si­tion to be a sub­com­mit­tee chair.

Newly elected Illi­nois Democrats Lau­ren Un­der­wood, Sean Cas­ten and Je­sus “Chuy” Gar­cia will be at­tend­ing ori­en­ta­tion ses­sions here next week. Be­cause Cas­ten and Un­der­wood rep­re­sent tough com­pet­i­tive dis­tricts, the Demo­cratic lead­er­ship will, if pos­si­ble, give them bet­ter com­mit­tee as­sign­ments. Gar­cia’s dis­trict is safe for Democrats.

U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (right) and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (left) are poised to gain power in the new Congress.

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