Republicans vying to replace Barney Frank on key bank panel

Two Republican lawmakers are battling to lead the powerful House Financial Services Committee in the next Congress. 

Rep. Spencer BachusSpencer Thomas BachusManufacturing group leads coalition to urge Congress to reauthorize Ex-Im Bank Biz groups take victory lap on Ex-Im Bank On The Money: White House files notice of China tariff hikes | Dems cite NYT report in push for Trump tax returns | Trump hits Iran with new sanctions | Trump praises GM for selling shuttered Ohio factory | Ex-Im Bank back at full strength MORE (R-Ala.), the panel's ranking member, and Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) are competing for the chairmanship of the committee that oversees bank regulators and Wall Street. 

Royce tossed his hat into the ring for the chairman spot on Wednesday afternoon, creating a battle that will be decided by the GOP Steering Committee in early December.


In his statement, Royce said the “passage of the Dodd-Frank bill fundamentally altered the structure of the U.S. financial services sector. … There is no question that now is the time for a determined and effective Financial Services Committee Chairman.”

Bachus, however, says he “fully expect(s) to serve as Chairman.”

“I’ve spoken to my colleagues on the steering committee and in leadership and am grateful for their expression of support and fully expect to serve as Chairman. There is no lack of talent on our committee and I look forward to implementing a new leadership style that will empower our strong bench of leaders to pass our legislative agenda,” Bachus said in a statement.

One GOP aide was flummoxed that Royce would be making a play for the top spot on Financial Services since he is not a ranking member on any of its subcommittees.

The chairmanship of the Financial Services panel is a plum prize for lawmakers, given its enormous sway over the financial sector. The committee has more than 70 members and is now led by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who helped push a sweeping reform of Wall Street through Congress. 

The next Financial Services chairman will have to deal with a number of tough issues, including the future of troubled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the rollout of new Wall Street regulations. 

Bachus said this week that the government's role in the housing market should be greatly diminished, though analysts don't expect much to happen on that front before 2012.

Even if Bachus becomes chairman under party rules, he'd be forced to step aside in two years, most likely making way for Royce to take the helm. Republican rules allow for six years, or three two-year terms, for lawmakers to serve as chairmen or ranking members. 

Presumptive Speaker-elect John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerDemocrats eager to fill power vacuum after Pelosi exit Stopping the next insurrection Biden, lawmakers mourn Harry Reid MORE (R-Ohio), who has said he will give his committee chairmen free rein over the panels, will determine who leads them.  

Party leadership decisions will be made when Congress returns Nov. 15 for the lame-duck session. Committee posts will probably be decided in December.