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Comer tapped to serve as top Republican on House Oversight

Rep. James ComerJames (Jamie) R. ComerOvernight Health Care: Fauci urges vaccination to protect against Delta variant | White House: 'Small fraction' of COVID-19 vaccine doses will be unused Tlaib, Democrats slam GOP calls for border oversight to fight opioid crisis Republicans seek vindication amid reemergence of Wuhan lab theory MORE (R-Ky.) was tapped Monday to take over as the top Republican on the powerful House Oversight and Reform Committee from former Rep. Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsHead of firms that pushed 'Italygate' theory falsely claimed VA mansion was her home: report The Hill's Morning Report - Dems to go-it-alone on infrastructure as bipartisan plan falters Trump, allies pressured DOJ to back election claims, documents show MORE (R-N.C.), who is now President TrumpDonald TrumpHead of firms that pushed 'Italygate' theory falsely claimed VA mansion was her home: report Centrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting VA moving to cover gender affirmation surgery through department health care MORE's chief of staff.

Comer edged out Rep. Jody HiceJody Brownlow HiceHouse Democrat: Republicans 'treating Capitol Police like shit' were 'the most scared' during riot 21 Republicans vote against awarding medals to police who defended Capitol Georgia GOP censures state official who criticized Trump MORE (R-Ga.), the most senior member on the panel and one of the leading voices in the conservative House Freedom Caucus, and Rep. Mark GreenMark GreenEmergent CEO: J&J vaccine production could resume in days My Constitutional amendment to stop the Democrats' 'bonehead idea' On The Money: COVID-19 relief bill on track for House passage, Biden signature Wednesday | First new checks to go out starting next week MORE (R-Tenn.), a first-term member and veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

The Kentucky Republican is slated to fill the seat previously held by Meadows, who vacated the role after he was named White House chief of staff earlier this year.

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Comer, a second-term lawmaker, has been an active member on the Oversight and Reform Committee, serving as the top Republican on its Subcommittee on the Environment. Before Congress, he served as the agriculture commissioner of Kentucky. 

The Oversight and Reform Committee — the main investigative panel in the lower chamber — is one of the most influential committees in Congress, holding jurisdiction over a broad range of issues and one of just three standing committees that holds the authority to authorize subpoenas under House rules.

Comer was elected to the position by the House Republican Steering Committee, which consists of top Republican lawmakers and is tasked with determining committee assignments.

Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyGOP increasingly balks at calling Jan. 6 an insurrection House Democrats' campaign arm raises almost million in May Five takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision MORE (R-Calif.) and Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseHillicon Valley: Senate unanimously confirms Chris Inglis as first White House cyber czar | Scrutiny mounts on Microsoft's surveillance technology | Senators unveil bill to crack down on cyber criminals Five takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision FCC votes to advance proposed ban on Chinese telecom equipment MORE (R-La.) hold the most power on the Steering Committee, with McCarthy counting for four votes and Scalise counting for two; the rest of its 29 members are allotted one vote each.

Comer said he is ready to hit the ground running as he assumes his new role. 

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“I just made the pitch that I'll be focused like a laser on waste, fraud and abuse. I'm not out there to try to focus on throwing red meat and one-liners to try to get in the press. I'm focused on trying to get real government reform. And I'm gonna do everything in my ability to defend anyone who's been mistreated or falsely accused on the Oversight Committee,” he told The Hill in an interview.  

“I believe our role should be to seek the truth and that's what I'm going to do as ranking member and I'm blessed to have a great committee — that's a committee filled with a lot of fighters and a lot of institutional knowledge.”

Comer said since being selected to assume the role, he has already spoken with Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn MaloneyHow ERA is good for the economy Wray suggests limits on FBI social media tracking a 'lesson learned' after Jan. 6 Trump, allies pressured DOJ to back election claims, documents show MORE (D-N.Y.) and is the process of setting up meetings with members to discuss future plans as he settles into his new position. 

“I'm obviously very excited, I appreciate the confidence the Steering Committee had in me. We're busy setting meetings now with members of the Oversight Committee, I'm going to their offices and we'll sit down, I’ll take notes, listen to everybody on the committee,” he also told The Hil.  

“I’ve already met with Chairwoman Maloney on the floor. We had a great very cordial conversation about moving forward and trying to see if there are any areas where we can have some type of bipartisan agreement. But, you know, replacing Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanHillicon Valley: Biden, Putin agree to begin work on addressing cybersecurity concerns | Senate panel unanimously advances key Biden cyber nominees | Rick Scott threatens to delay national security nominees until Biden visits border Trump, allies pressured DOJ to back election claims, documents show The tale of the last bipartisan unicorns MORE, I feel like the poor guy that's gonna be the starting quarterback for the New England Patriots replacing Tom Brady, but, we're excited and ready to go.”

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Since Comer is assuming the position more than halfway through the 116th Congress, he will be eligible to serve as the top Republican on the committee for an additional three full terms under the House GOP’s rules.

The position has previously been held by some of Trump’s top attack dogs in the House, with GOP members on the panel playing a pivotal role in defending the president during impeachment proceedings.

Meadows was the top Oversight Republican for a very brief period. He assumed the role shortly after Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) was shifted to lead Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee after Rep. Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsLoeffler meets with McConnell amid speculation of another Senate run Georgia agriculture commissioner launches Senate campaign against Warnock Poll shows tight GOP primary for Georgia governor MORE (R-Ga.), the former ranking member on the Judiciary Committee, stepped down from the position after announcing his Senate bid in February.

In addition to choosing the new ranking member of the Oversight Committee, the Steering Committee opted to place Rep. Gary PalmerGary James PalmerMo Brooks launches Senate bid in Alabama Former Trump officials eye bids for political office The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by TikTok - Senate trial will have drama, but no surprise ending MORE (R-Ala.) back on the panel. Palmer, the House GOP's policy chairman, previously sat on the committee during the 115th Congress.

Three freshman lawmakers that were recently elected in special elections also received their committee assignments.

Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Calif.) was appointed to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology; Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-Wis.) was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee and the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology; and Rep. Chris Jacobs (R-N.Y.) was placed on the House Committee on Agriculture and the House Budget Committee.

-- Updated at 6:23 p.m.