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Rep. David Scott wins House Agriculture Committee gavel

Rep. David Scott wins House Agriculture Committee gavel
© Keren Carrion

House Democrats on Thursday voted to elect Rep. David ScottDavid Albert ScottOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump admin to sell oil leases at Arctic wildlife refuge before Biden takes office |Trump administration approves controversial oil testing method in Gulf of Mexico | Rep. Scott wins House Agriculture Committee gavel Rep. David Scott wins House Agriculture Committee gavel DeLauro wins Steering Committee vote for Appropriations chair MORE (D-Ga.) to be the next Agriculture Committee chairman, making him the first Black lawmaker in the chamber’s history to hold the position. 

Scott will take over in January from Rep. Collin PetersonCollin Clark PetersonOn The Trail: The political losers of 2020 OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump admin to sell oil leases at Arctic wildlife refuge before Biden takes office |Trump administration approves controversial oil testing method in Gulf of Mexico | Rep. Scott wins House Agriculture Committee gavel Rep. David Scott wins House Agriculture Committee gavel MORE (D-Minn.), who chaired the committee for six of his nearly 30 years in Congress but lost reelection last month in a district long targeted by the GOP.

Scott easily prevailed over Rep. Jim CostaJames (Jim) Manuel CostaOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump admin to sell oil leases at Arctic wildlife refuge before Biden takes office |Trump administration approves controversial oil testing method in Gulf of Mexico | Rep. Scott wins House Agriculture Committee gavel Rep. David Scott wins House Agriculture Committee gavel DeLauro wins Steering Committee vote for Appropriations chair MORE (D-Calif.), his only rival for the Agriculture post, by a 144-83 vote, according to a Democratic aide.

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The House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, which determines members’ committee assignments, voted on Tuesday to recommend Scott to hold the Agriculture gavel. The full House Democratic Caucus voted Thursday to ratify the Steering panel’s recommendation.

Scott had an edge for the chairman role as the most senior Democrat on the Agriculture Committee after Peterson. Scott also currently chairs an Agriculture Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit.

In a letter to colleagues shortly after Peterson’s loss, Scott said he would use the post “with a principled focus on addressing inequities in agriculture and advancing racial progress for all.”

Picking Scott, who represents parts of the Atlanta metropolitan area, reflects a shift in the tradition of selecting a chair from a rural area and shows the growing importance the party places on the committee’s work dealing with food stamps and the school lunch program.

“While millions of Americans are one financial setback — a cut in their hours or an emergency room visit — away from food insecurity it is the duty of Congress to set forth programs that provide a safety net for our most vulnerable citizens,” he wrote in November.

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House Democrats also voted Thursday to select Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) as the next Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman after a disappointing showing in this year’s elections where they had originally expected to gain seats only to fail to unseat a single GOP incumbent. Maloney will oversee the party's efforts to maintain the House majority in 2022.

Democrats also moved to elect Rep. Rosa DeLauroRosa DeLauroDemocrats eye bill providing permanent benefits of at least K per child Jill Biden visits Capitol to thank National Guard Biden reverses Trump's freeze on .4 billion in funds MORE (D-Conn.) as the next chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee and Rep. Gregory MeeksGregory Weldon MeeksBiden urged to reverse Pompeo-Trump move on Houthis House Democrats introduce measures to oppose Trump's bomb sale to Saudis Trust between lawmakers reaches all-time low after Capitol riots MORE (D-N.Y.) to hold the House Foreign Affairs Committee gavel.

Like Scott, Meeks will be the first Black lawmaker to chair his committee. 

The current Appropriations Committee chairwoman, Rep. Nita LoweyNita Sue LoweyTrump seeks to freeze .4 billion of programs in final week of presidency This week: Trump's grip on Hill allies faces test Trump signs .3T relief, spending package MORE (D-N.Y.), is retiring, while House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelState Department sets up new bureau for cybersecurity and emerging technologies How Congress dismissed women's empowerment 2020: A year in photos MORE (D-N.Y.) lost his primary over the summer.