Porter loses seat on House panel overseeing financial sector
Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) lost her seat on the House Financial Services Committee after House Democratic leaders on Thursday rejected her request for a waiver to serve on the Financial Services panel and other committees simultaneously, two House Democratic sources told The Hill.
The Financial Services Committee is one of five House panels deemed “exclusive” by Democratic leaders under caucus rules adopted in July 2020.
Democrats on exclusive committees are barred by caucus rules from serving on any other committee without a waiver from the party’s steering committee, a panel of several dozen lawmakers chaired by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) that determines committee assignments.
Porter, a former financial law professor known for dressing down administration officials and executives in hearings, was appointed to the Financial Services Committee and received a waiver to serve on the House Oversight and Reform Committee during her first term.
In a Nov. 30 letter to Pelosi, Porter asked to be considered for seats on the Oversight and Reform, Natural Resources, and Financial Services committees — in that order — in the new Congress that began on Jan. 3.
Porter also asked Pelosi to “prioritize” her spot on the Oversight Committee and asked to rejoin the Financial Services Committee on a waiver.
Porter will hold onto her seat on the Oversight Committee and join the Natural Resources Committee this year, the Democratic aides said. Both committees are non-exclusive, meaning a member can serve on several.
“Under House Dem rules, a member is allowed to serve on two non-exclusive committees. Mine are Oversight and Natural Resources. One can ask for a waiver for a third committee. I asked. Others in same situ got waivers. I did not. I play by the rules,” Porter said in a tweet.
A senior Democratic aide familiar with the steering committee decision said it was risky for Porter to prioritize spots on other committees while asking for a waiver to retain her spot on Financial Services after Democrats lost seats in the 2020 election. A smaller Democratic majority means Democrats have a smaller ratio of seats per committee.
The senior Democratic aide said Porter was given spots on Oversight and Natural Resources panels per her November request to Pelosi before the steering committee decided who should be granted waivers to join other committees.
The senior aide also said that Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.) was also denied a waiver to stay on the Financial Services Committee after she was granted a spot on the House Appropriations Committee in December.
Porter’s departure from the Financial Services panel will likely mean fewer headaches for the bank executives, financial regulators and industry advocates that often appear before the panel.
Before joining Congress, Porter was a law professor at the University of California, Irvine and was appointed in 2012 by then-California Attorney General Kamala Harris to oversee the state’s $25 billion settlement with mortgage servicers involved in the 2007 financial crisis and housing market collapse.
Porter is frequently compared by both supporters and critics to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), her former professor at Harvard Law School.
Porter emphasized her legal experience and perspective as the only single mother of school-age children in the Democratic Caucus in a Jan. 6 letter to Pelosi asking for a waiver to rejoin the Financial Services panel.
“From growing up in Iowa during the farm credit crisis, to raising young children as a single mother, I have lived through economic upheavals that limit many Americans from reaching or remaining in the middle class,” Porter wrote.
“Because of my work as a lawyer and consumer advocate, I also have a rigorous understanding of the 2008 financial crisis, which decimated family finances and helped cause the huge economic inequality that we face today,” she added.
Updated at 9:10 p.m.
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