Jim McGovern Most Likely to Take Over for Slaughter on Rules Panel

Massachusetts Democrat to serve acting ranking member until Pelosi names successor

Ranking member Louise Slaughter and Massachusetts Rep. Jim McGovern confer before a House Rules hearing in the Capitol in July 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After House Rules ranking member Louise Slaughter’s death, Rep. Jim McGovern will take over her committee post in an acting capacity, and remains the most likely candidate to succeed her. 

The Massachusetts Democrat was the second-highest-ranking Democrat on Rules behind Slaughter. McGovern’s seniority grants him the opportunity to serve as acting ranking member in her absence, as he did this week while she was in the hospital for a concussion. Slaughter, 88, the first woman to head the Rules panel, died Friday

The Rules Committee is controlled by leadership, and the speaker and minority leader get to choose its members. The full Democratic Caucus has to ratify Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi’s pick, but that’s generally a formality.

Watch: Remembering a Life — Louise M. Slaughter

McGovern has a long familiarity with the Rules panel. From 1982 to 1996, he worked as a senior staffer, including eventually as chief of staff, to Massachusetts Rep. Joe Moakley, who was chairman from 1989 to 1995. McGovern was elected to the House in 1996. 

Pelosi is most likely to choose McGovern because of his seniority and leadership on the committee. She will also get to name a new member to Rules, perhaps a woman, since the other two Democrats on Rules — Reps. Alcee L. Hastings of Florida and Jared Polis of Colorado — are men.

“Like everyone on the Rules Committee, I loved working with Louise,” McGovern said in a statement. “I enjoyed her humor and appreciated her passion. She fought hard for what she believed in — and by any measure — she made a real difference.”

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