McGovern tapped to replace Slaughter as top Dem on Rules panel

McGovern tapped to replace Slaughter as top Dem on Rules panel
© Cameron Lancaster

Rep. Jim McGovern (Mass.) was appointed Tuesday as the top Democrat on the powerful Rules Committee, replacing the late Rep. Louise SlaughterDorothy (Louise) Louise SlaughterSeven Republicans vote against naming post office after ex-Rep. Louise Slaughter Breaking through the boys club Sotomayor, Jane Fonda inducted into National Women's Hall of Fame MORE (D-N.Y.), who died last month at the age of 88.

The move was expected. McGovern, in his 11th term, had been the second-ranking Democrat on the Rules panel for years, and his history of fighting for liberal causes — notably for human rights and anti-hunger efforts across the globe — lends him widespread support within the left-leaning caucus.

In announcing the move, House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHouse unravels with rise of 'Les Enfants Terrible' Will Trump's racist tweets backfire? Al Green: 'We have the opportunity to punish' Trump with impeachment vote MORE (D-Calif.) lamented the “immense loss” of Slaughter — the first woman to chair the Rules Committee — but characterized McGovern as a capable figure to fill her shoes.

“It is fitting that the mantle of leadership will now be taken up by Congressman Jim McGovern, a proud progressive champion who has dedicated a lifetime to defending working families across the nation,” Pelosi said in a statement. “[His] great integrity and legislative expertise will be invaluable at the head of the Rules Committee to fight for better futures for the American people.”

The shift will put McGovern at the front lines of the coming battles over the GOP’s legislative wish list, as the Rules Committee is charged with dictating the guidelines governing specific bills, including allowable amendments. That list is short, with elections looming, but includes the farm bill, which GOP leaders are expected to unveil as early as this week.

Democrats are up in arms over farm bill provisions slashing spending for the food stamp program, known as SNAP, which McGovern has championed for years. Pelosi praised McGovern’s “defense of the vital lifeline of SNAP,” and she’s warned that Democrats are united in opposition to any legislation “that includes these cruel provisions.”

The other longtime Democrats on the Rules panel are Reps. Alcee HastingsAlcee (Judge) Lamar HastingsHarris hops past Biden in early race for Black Caucus support NFL players: Corporal punishment in schools is unacceptable Biden holds lead in 2020 endorsements MORE (Fla.) and Jared PolisJared Schutz PolisNumber of openly LGBTQ elected officials rose nearly 25 percent since 2018: report GOP gun rights activist arrested for flashing handgun at U.S. marshal First openly gay man elected governor marks Pride with flag at state capitol MORE (Colo.).

Pelosi tapped Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.), a second-term lawmaker and the first Guatemalan-American to serve in Congress to fill out the roster.

“As an immigrant, a former 9-1-1 dispatcher and a union leader, Congresswoman Torres deeply understands the challenges facing American families,” Pelosi said.