Maloney wins House Oversight gavel

Rep. Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn Bosher MaloneyDemocrats could introduce articles of impeachment next week Two budget staffers resigned after voicing concerns about halted Ukraine aid, official says On The Money: Dems say Ukraine aid documents from OMB show 'pattern of abuse' | Blue states file appeal over GOP tax law deduction cap | Dems sue Barr, Ross over census documents MORE (D-N.Y.) formally won the gavel of the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Wednesday, becoming the first woman to chair the powerful panel that is at the forefront of investigations into the Trump administration. 

House Democrats had hoped to avoid a messy fight over the chairmanship amid their impeachment inquiry and ultimately deferred to seniority to fill the critical post. She won 133-86, according to a source familiar.

"I am deeply humbled and grateful to my colleagues for entrusting me with the chairmanship. I’m honored by this opportunity to do more for the American people and will do my best to follow the honorable example that Chairman Cummings left for us all. There’s much work to be done, and I can’t wait to get started," Maloney said in a statement.

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Maloney beat out Stephen LynchStephen Francis LynchMaloney wins House Oversight gavel Maloney wins vote for Oversight chairwoman Brindisi, Lamb recommended for Armed Services, Transportation Committees MORE (D-Mass.) for the chairmanship, although she won the recommendation of the leadership-backed Democratic Steering Committee the day before on a second ballot.

She has been serving as acting chairwoman since the late Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsImpeachment can't wait Adam Schiff's star rises with impeachment hearings Tucker Carlson calls Trump 'full-blown BS artist' in segment defending him from media coverage MORE (D-Md.) died last month.

Maloney now officially takes over the committee’s investigations, including into President TrumpDonald John TrumpPence: It's not a "foregone conclusion" that lawmakers impeach Trump FBI identifies Pensacola shooter as Saudi Royal Saudi Air Force second lieutenant Trump calls Warren 'Pocahontas,' knocks wealth tax MORE’s financial records, the efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census and the treatment of migrants at the southern border. Upon taking the role as acting chairwoman last month, Maloney vowed that “we will keep shining a spotlight on this administration’s actions.”

She previously hadn’t been a central figure in Democrats' impeachment efforts. Maloney was best known for her work on ensuring health benefits for 9/11 first responders and on women’s issues, such as legislation she’s pushed for years to establish a women’s history museum on the National Mall.

For months this year, Maloney made a point of wearing a firefighter’s jacket around the Capitol and even to the Met Gala to draw attention to her bill to ensure financial assistance for first responders who have health complications caused by their work at Ground Zero. Trump eventually signed Maloney’s bill into law in late July.

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Maloney’s election to lead the Oversight panel ensures that the House committee chairs leading the impeachment inquiry are not all white men.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffPence's office questions Schiff's request to declassify more material from official's testimony: report Sunday talk shows: Lawmakers gear up ahead of Monday's House Judiciary hearing Trump denies report that he still uses personal cell phone for calls MORE (D-Calif.) and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelHouse approves two-state resolution in implicit rebuke of Trump House leaders: Trump administration asking South Korea to pay more for US troops 'a needless wedge' Trump administration releases 5M in military aid for Lebanon after months-long delay MORE (D-N.Y.) have been conducting the closed-door depositions and issuing subpoenas in coordination with the Oversight panel, while House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerJudiciary panel releases report defining impeachable offenses READ: White House letter refusing to participate in impeachment hearings White House tells Democrats it won't cooperate in impeachment hearings MORE (D-N.Y.) would be responsible for the process of crafting articles of impeachment.

But Maloney will be yet another New York City–based lawmaker among the ranks, alongside Engel and Nadler.

Maloney previously ran for the top Democratic spot on the Oversight panel in December 2010. But Cummings won that race and leapfrogged Maloney even though she ranked higher in seniority at the time.

Rep. Gerry ConnollyGerald (Gerry) Edward ConnollyDemocrats debate scope of impeachment charges House Democrats rebuke State Department for 'reversal' on Israeli settlements Maloney wins House Oversight gavel MORE (D-Va.), a frequent presence on cable news, chairs the Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations, while Lynch leads the Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on National Security.

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Even though Democrats largely wanted to defer to seniority in the race for the Oversight gavel this time around, it took two rounds of voting for the Steering Committee to make a recommendation on Tuesday.

The Steering Committee, which acts as an arm of leadership and recommends members for committee slots, voted 35-17 on a second ballot for Maloney over Connolly. Maloney won 26 votes in the first round over Connolly’s 15 and Lynch’s 10 in the first round.

After Maloney won the election, she remarked to her colleagues in the caucus meeting that “When I came to Congress, I noticed there were no women on the walls. There were no women chairmen. I would always look, where were the women?”

Notably, asking “Where are the women?” made Maloney go viral at an Oversight Committee hearing in 2012 when Republicans organized a panel of all-male witnesses to discuss the Obama administration’s rule requiring health insurance coverage for contraception. 

“So I never thought I'd have the great honor of chairing an important committee here in the United States Congress,” Maloney added.

Updated 8:13 p.m.