Maloney wins House Oversight gavel

Rep. Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn Bosher MaloneyGun control group rolls out House endorsements Overnight Defense: Pentagon watchdog sidelined by Trump resigns | Plan would reportedly bring troops in Afghanistan back by Election Day | Third service member dies from COVID-19 Business groups throw support behind House Democrat's bill to provide pandemic risk insurance 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 LynchHouse Democrats object to Trump sending ventilators to Russia Hillicon Valley: House Dems push for B in state election funds | Amazon suspends over 6,000 sellers for price gouging | Google says 18M malicious coronavirus emails sent daily House Democrats push hard for mail-in voting funds 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 CummingsThe Postal Service collapse that isn't happening House Democrat reintroduces bill to reduce lobbyist influence The Hill's Campaign Report: Amash moves toward Libertarian presidential bid MORE (D-Md.) died last month.

Maloney now officially takes over the committee’s investigations, including into President TrumpDonald John TrumpMinneapolis erupts for third night, as protests spread, Trump vows retaliation Stocks open mixed ahead of Trump briefing on China The island that can save America 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 SchiffThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - George Floyd's death sparks protests, National Guard activation Hillicon Valley: Trump signs order targeting social media legal protections | House requests conference with Senate after FISA vote canceled | Minneapolis systems temporarily brought down by hackers House punts on FISA, votes to begin negotiations with Senate MORE (D-Calif.) and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelHouse chairman slams Pompeo for suggesting US could 'disconnect' from Australia over China deal Open Skies withdrawal throws nuclear treaty into question The Memo: Trump agenda rolls on amid pandemic 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 NadlerHouse Democrats call on DOJ to investigate recent killings of unarmed black people  Gun control group rolls out House endorsements The House impeachment inquiry loses another round — and yes, that's still going on 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 to probe Trump's replacement of top Transportation Dept. watchdog The Postal Service collapse that isn't happening Postal Service to review package fee policy: report 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.