Republican Control Of House Would Preserve California's Clout
California's Congressional delegation would continue to hold considerable sway--arguably more than any other state--in national lawmaking if Republicans capture a majority in the House of Representatives, the L.A. Times noted Monday.
The shift in power from Democrats to Republicans also would mean conservative-leaning Southern California would have more power over agenda-setting than liberal-leaning Northern California. The Rose Institute at Claremont McKenna College broke down that swing in greater detail earlier this month.
The majority party receives the chairmanship and a majority of members on every committee and subcommittee in Congress. Much of the actual writing of legislation and the discarding of ideas takes place at the subcommittee level. Though not all committees are equally powerful, each chairperson is entrusted with the power to set the agenda for his or her committee. This would allow Republican chairs to easily ignore any ideas and suggestions from Democrats--as Democrats have been doing to Republicans for the past four years.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, would give up her seat at the top of the chamber to John Boehner of Ohio. But Republican David Dreier, who represents much of the San Gabriel Valley, would likely return to his spot as head of the Rules Committee. Dreier's committee is typically considered the House's most powerful because it decides which bills go to which committees and how and when they will be brought up in the full House. Boehner would have input, but the fate of nearly every piece of legislation ultimately would be in Dreier's hands.
UCLA-alum and longtime politician, Republican Jerry Lewis, whose district includes most of San Bernardino County, would likely assume the chairmanship of the House Appropriations Committee under a Republican take-over. Wisconsin Democrat David Obey, 72, announced earlier this year he would not seek re-election. If Democrats retain control, Washington's Norman Dicks would get the wonderful job of deciding what the government should spend its discretionary money on. However, Lewis in power could mean millions of extra federal dollars directed to California instead of Washington.
Southern California would also benefit from representatives leading the Armed Services, Science and Technology and Financial Services committees.
Of course, without Democrats in power, California would lose its chairmanships of the Education and Labor, Energy and Commerce and House Foreign Affairs committees.
In the Senate, Carly Fiorina's election would mean the loss of Sen. Barbara Boxer's chairwomanship of the Environment and Public Works committee. She also heads the Select Committee on Ethics, making her the only senator with two chairs. Though seniority is less important in the Senate than in the House, Fiorina would likely need to wait at least four years before she gets a leadership position powerful enough to bring some pork California's way.
With Republicans who opposed the stimulus still pushing for money from the fund to come to their districts, it's likely Republican control of the House wouldn't spell misery for the citizens that make up California's Democratic majority.