SPONSORED:

House Democrats pick Aguilar as No. 6 leader in next Congress

House Democrats pick Aguilar as No. 6 leader in next Congress
© Bonnie Cash

For Rep. Pete AguilarPeter (Pete) Ray AguilarPelosi signals no further action against Omar Progressives rally behind Omar while accusing her critics of bias Pelosi, leaders seek to squelch Omar controversy with rare joint statement MORE, the second time was the charm.

The California Democrat on Thursday won the race to become vice chair of the party's caucus in the next Congress, defeating Rep. Robin KellyRobin Lynne KellyPharmaceutical industry donated to two-thirds of Congress ahead of 2020 elections: analysis Republicans defy mask rules on House floor HHS expands Medicaid postpartum coverage for Illinois mothers up to a year after giving birth MORE (D-Ill.) for the No. 6 leadership slot in a 148 to 82 vote.

Aguilar, 41, will replace Rep. Katherine ClarkKatherine Marlea ClarkPelosi signals no further action against Omar Progressives rally behind Omar while accusing her critics of bias Pelosi, leaders seek to squelch Omar controversy with rare joint statement MORE, a Massachusetts Democrat who had defeated Aguilar for the vice chair spot in 2018. Clark vacated the position to become assistant Speaker next year, a seat she won on Wednesday in a race against Rep. David CicillineDavid CicillineHillicon Valley: House targets tech giants with antitrust bills | Oversight chair presses JBS over payment to hackers | Trump spokesman to join tech company | YouTube suspends GOP senator House unveils antitrust package to rein in tech giants On the Money: Tech giants face rising pressure from shareholder activists | House Democrats urge IRS to reverse Trump-era rule reducing donor disclosure | Sen. Warren, Jamie Dimon spar over overdraft fees at Senate hearing MORE (D-R.I.).

ADVERTISEMENT

Aguilar’s victory ensures that the Democrats’ leadership team in the 117th Congress will feature at least one member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), which had been a significant part of his pitch heading into the vote. Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) had been the CHC’s prominent leadership figure for the last four years, both as head of the party’s campaign arm and most recently as assistant Speaker. He’s leaving the House next year after winning a seat in the Senate.

In the current Congress, Aguilar served as whip for the moderate New Democrat Coalition, a pro-business group that advocates for bipartisanship, and he also sits on the powerful Appropriations Committee.

As vice chair, he'll face the challenge of bridging the divide between party's centrist and liberal wings, which have been feuding after a lackluster performance for House Democrats at the polls this month.

In a statement issued after his victory, Aguilar acknowledged the importance of easing those tensions if Democrats are to be successful in pushing their ambitious legislative agenda.

"My top priority as a member of this leadership team will be to help unite our Caucus to meet the most pressing needs of the communities we represent, including providing much-needed resources to help the American people navigate the coronavirus crisis," he said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Kelly, 64, was vying to be the third member of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) featured on the Democrats’ leadership team in the 117th Congress, after Majority Whip James Clyburn (S.C.) and Caucus Chairman Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesPelosi signals no further action against Omar House unveils antitrust package to rein in tech giants Wray grilled on FBI's handling of Jan. 6 MORE (D-N.Y.) won reelection to those spots in voting conducted Wednesday. Both Clyburn and Jeffries ran unopposed.

In a year when Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisHarris highlights COVID-19 vaccination safety, efficacy in SC event to kick off tour Kamala Harris is still not ready for primetime (much less 2024) Lara Trump calls on Americans at border to 'arm up and get guns and be ready' MORE (D-Calif.) made history as the first Black woman elected vice president, Kelly had argued the importance of the Democrats’ House leadership team featuring a woman of color. Yet with two CBC members already on board — and no members of the CHC — that message became a tougher sell in a caucus that’s historically gone out of its way to promote ethnic diversity in its top ranks.

Democrats on Thursday also elected a quartet of members as the four equal co-chairs of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee (DPCC): Reps. Debbie DingellDeborah (Debbie) Ann DingellRecovering America through the lens of wildlife Shakespeare gets a congressional hearing in this year's 'Will on the Hill' OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden suspends Arctic oil leases issued under Trump |  Experts warn US needs to better prepare for hurricane season | Progressives set sights on Civilian Climate Corps MORE (Mich.), Ted LieuTed W. LieuGaetz, under investigative cloud, questions FBI director Crenshaw trolled after asking for examples of 'woke ideology' in military Kinzinger slams Gaetz speech: 'This is why we need a January 6 commission' MORE (Calif.), Matt CartwrightMatthew (Matt) Alton CartwrightHouse Democrats unveil .9 billion bill to boost security after insurrection Garland emphasizes national security, civil rights in budget hearing House Democrats call for paid legal representation in immigration court MORE (Pa.) and Joe NeguseJoseph (Joe) NeguseHouse unveils antitrust package to rein in tech giants Overnight Health Care: House Democrats pressure Biden to expand Medicare | Intel community: Competing COVID-19 origin theories not 'more likely than the other' | WHO: Africa in 'urgent need' of 20 million second vaccine doses 70 percent of House Democrats pressure Biden to expand Medicare in American Families Plan MORE (Colo.).

This represented a change in structure from the last Congress, when Cicilline headed the DPCC and had three co-chairs under him, Dingell, Lieu and Cartwright. Cicilline’s unsuccessful bid for assistant Speaker created an opening for Neguse, who has served as one of two freshman liaisons to Pelosi’s leadership team and ran unopposed for the fourth DPCC seat.

In 2018, Neguse made history as the first Eritrean American elected to Congress and the first African-American congressman from Colorado.

The race for Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair has been pushed to the week after Thanksgiving to give the candidates, Reps. Sean Patrick Maloney (N.Y.) and Tony Cárdenas (Calif.), more time to campaign and lock down votes.

— Updated at 12:00 p.m.