Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is back as the most powerful woman in the House of Representatives, but as a more diverse and far left 116th Congress takes shape,it is clear minorities will want to use their newfound status to get appointed to important committees and be at the table on a wide range of policy issues.
Roll Call explained the dynamics behind the new Democratic-controlled House:
The ideological caucuses are looking to be a larger source of power in the majority since the groups’ central purpose is to develop and debate policy.
In the minority, much of the power has been delegated to the Congressional Tri-Caucus — composed of the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.
Her hometown San Francisco Chronicle describes the growth of the Tri-Caucus and Pelosi’s need to keep them in the fold:
The growth in the groups’ membership — in the last Congress, the Tri-Caucus had roughly 90 core House members — reflects the diverse lineup of Democrats who won election in the November midterms. It also signals that their influence will be wide-ranging.
Among the Tri-Caucus members will be eight committee chairs, leading panels ranging from environmental issues to homeland security to small business. They will have representatives in the No. 3, 4 and 5 spots in Democratic leadership. Lobbying firms in Washington are hiring staff with connections to the Tri-Caucus, a signal of their importance.
More than 100 of 235 Democratic members in the new House, many from California, belong to one of the three affinity groups known collectively as the Tri-Caucus. It will arguably be the most powerful voting bloc for the Democratic majority.
“We’re going to be active on just about every policy area that this House of Representatives will concern itself with,” Rep. Joaquín Castro, (D-TX), now chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said in the Chronicle article.
“Pelosi has already committed to convene weekly meetings between leadership and the chairs of the Tri-Caucus groups. During her successful campaign to reclaim the speaker’s gavel, Pelosi sat down with each of the groups — and made promises to them,” the Chronicle reported.
Those promises include calling for a vote on the Dream Act to give amnesty to young people brought to the United States illegally by there parents, amending the Voting Rights Act, and other immigration issues.
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