Politics

Becerra, Pompeo Prepare to Leave House

Appointments bring the number of the House down by two

California Democratic Rep. Xavier Becerra  will become his state’s attorney general Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Xavier Becerra is expected to be sworn-in as the next attorney general of California Tuesday after he formally resigns from Congress.

The California Democrat had been handpicked for the position by Gov. Jerry Brown shortly after the November election. The state Senate voted to approve his nomination Monday.

“It is humbling and exciting to assume responsibility for vigorously advancing the forward-leaning values that make California unique among the many states,” Becerra said in a statement. “I’m eager to get to work.”

Becerra previously served as the chairman of the Democratic Caucus while serving in Congress.

He won’t be the only member of the House resigning for other office. The Senate confirmed Kansas Republican Mike Pompeo Monday night to be CIA director, and Pompeo resigned his seat shortly thereafter. Becerra’s seat is reliably Democratic, and Pompeo’s is reliably Republican, so the overall party balance of the chamber is not likely to change, barring something incredibly unforeseen that happens in either special election to decide the successor for each man.

In other House personnel moves, Democrats unanimously elected Rep. Gerald E. Connolly to become vice-ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, a position that was newly created to expand the party’s leadership ranks after the top leaders came under fire for not providing ways up for other members.

Connolly was also named ranking member of the Government Operations Subcommittee for a second time. In a statement, the Virginia Democrat vowed to exercise the panel’s oversight power over the executive branch, although the minority party’s ability to affect the committee agenda is quite limited.

“Our committee must examine President Trump’s conflicts of interest, his blatant violation of the Emoluments Clause, and the interference in our democratic process by a hostile foreign government,” Connolly said.

Meanwhile, Republican chairmen of committees that oversee transportation, energy and commerce will be up bright and early Tuesday to reveal the Main Street 2017 National Policy Agenda.

Chairmen Greg Walden, of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Bill Shuster, leader of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and Pat Tiberi, chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, will be on hand to introduce measures related to tax and regulatory reform, healthcare and transportation.

The members are part of a group of moderate congressional Republicans focused on finding solutions for business and infrastructure issues.

Republican leadership will take the microphones a couple of hours later, where they are likely to be asked about their first trip to the White House, for a Monday evening reception, with Democratic leaders under a Donald Trump presidency.

Democrats, too, will have their public say around the same time. Minority Leader Steny Hoyer will hold his weekly briefly with reporters just before lunch, wrapping up a busy morning for members.

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