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 Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Threat of impeachment takes oxygen out of 2019 agenda Trump denies 'tantrum' in meeting with Pelosi: 'It is all such a lie!' 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 HastingsNFL players: Corporal punishment in schools is unacceptable Some Senate Dems see Ocasio-Cortez as weak spokeswoman for party Florida lawmaker diagnosed with pancreatic cancer MORE (Fla.) and Jared PolisJared Schutz PolisSchool awards honorary diploma to student killed in Colorado school shooting Colorado secretary of state bans employees from traveling to Alabama after abortion law Colorado governor marks day for teen who died in school shooting 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.