Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) has been selected to lead the House Intelligence Committee in the next Congress.
Unlike most committee gavels that are voted on by the House Steering Committee, the Intelligence post is decided entirely by Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerDemocrats eager to fill power vacuum after Pelosi exit Stopping the next insurrection Biden, lawmakers mourn Harry Reid MORE (R-Ohio).
“The world is becoming increasingly dangerous and the Intelligence Committee is vital to our efforts to protect the American people. Over the past four years, Devin has been instrumental in ensuring that our intelligence professionals have the resources they need to keep America safe,” BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerDemocrats eager to fill power vacuum after Pelosi exit Stopping the next insurrection Biden, lawmakers mourn Harry Reid MORE said in a statement announcing the appointment.
“He has asked tough questions and conducted serious oversight to hold the Obama administration accountable. I look forward to working with him as the next chairman of the Intelligence Committee,” he added.
The Intelligence Committee chairmanship is prized among lawmakers, because it provides a powerful oversight role with access to some of the nation’s most closely guarded secrets.
Boehner said the U.S. faces a growing number of security threats, including a “sophisticated and determined terrorist enemy that is intent on killing more and more Americans, not to mention innocents around the globe” in reference to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
The U.S. is also under threat from “rogue states like Iran and North Korea that continue to thumb their noses at the United States,” he said.
Nunes, who has served in Congress since 2003, beat out Reps. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) and Pete King (R-N.Y.) for the post. Current Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) will step down in January.
Miller, the chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, was widely seen as being the front-runner in the race. He was next in seniority on the panel after Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), who is widely expected to lead Armed Services in the 114th Congress.
Nunes leapfrogged other members of the committee, including King and Reps. Michael Conaway (R-Texas) and Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.).
“At a time when the United States faces major international challenges including significant terror threats, I am honored and humbled to have been entrusted with this position," Nunes said in a statement.
He thanked the outgoing chairman and ranking member Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) for "their exceptional bipartisan leadership" of the panel.
"The committee's work is vital because strong congressional oversight of the intelligence community is critical for our national defense posture,” Nunes said.
— This post was updated at 4:27 p.m.