House Hispanic Dems vie for more committee assignments

House Hispanic Dems vie for more committee assignments
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House Hispanic Democrats are looking for more representation in key committees, as the House Democratic Caucus convenes Thursday afternoon to hand out committee assignments to members.
 
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) has 31 members in the 115th Congress, 16 percent of the 194-member Democratic Caucus. 
 
In the 114th Congress, Hispanics accounted for just 11 percent of the so-called exclusive committees — Appropriations, Ways and Means, Rules, and Energy and Commerce.
 
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New CHC Chairwoman Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.) said she is hoping this year's assignments will reflect the caucus's Hispanic population. 
 
"We believe that all exclusive committees should reflect America’s deep diversity. Republicans have made it clear that they want to weaken Social Security, phase out Medicare and repeal the Affordable Care Act — all fights that will happen in exclusive committees," she said. 
 
Democratic numbers in House committees will increase due to the six seats picked up on Nov. 8, and retiring members have left some vacancies.
 
Rep. Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraOvernight Energy: California, 23 other states sue Trump over vehicle emissions rule | Climate strike protests hit cities across globe | Interior watchdog expands scope of FOIA investigation | Dems accuse officials of burying climate reports California, 23 other states sue Trump over vehicle emissions rule Overnight Energy: Trump officials formally revoke California emissions waiver | EPA's Wheeler dodges questions about targeting San Francisco over homelessness | 2020 Dems duke it out at second climate forum MORE (D-Calif.), for example, will leave his place on the powerful Ways and Means Committee to become California's attorney general. Becerra was slated to challenge Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.) for the position of ranking member, and he also vacated his position as Democratic Caucus chairman.
 
Reps. Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.), Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.) and Filemón Vela (D-Texas) have joined the House Democratic leadership team for the 115th Congress.
 
Still, Hispanic Democrats say committee assignments are crucial to provide adequate representation on key issues.
 
"Our members represent the second largest and fastest growing community in the country, one that has been traditionally underrepresented in these important roles. We stand ready to take up the fight to protect these vital programs from Republican attacks,” said Lujan Grisham.