Sherman joins race for House Foreign Affairs gavel

Sherman joins race for House Foreign Affairs gavel
© Greg Nash

Rep. Brad ShermanBradley (Brad) James ShermanOvernight Defense & National Security — Congress begins Afghanistan grilling US says about 1,500 citizens remain in Afghanistan How Congress can advance peace with North Korea MORE (Calif.), the second-ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, announced on Wednesday his bid to chair the panel.

Sherman made his announcement in a letter to Democratic lawmakers asking for their support, stressing his seniority on the panel and engagement in increasing the number of Democrats in the House, and adding that he has done “everything asked of me, and more”. 

The California lawmaker is challenging his colleagues Reps. Gregory MeeksGregory Weldon MeeksOvernight Defense & National Security — Presented by AM General — Defense bill takes center stage Democratic anger grows over treatment of Haitian migrants Black Caucus meets with White House over treatment of Haitian migrants MORE (D-N.Y.) and Joaquin CastroJoaquin CastroThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - House Democrats plagued by Biden agenda troubles Harris's delayed trip to Vietnam ratchets up Havana Syndrome fears Lawmakers flooded with calls for help on Afghanistan exit MORE (D-Texas) ahead of the exit of current chairman Rep. Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelNYC snafu the latest flub from a broken elections agency Cynthia Nixon backs primary challenger to Rep. Carolyn Maloney Democrats call on Blinken to set new sexual misconduct policies at State Department MORE (D-N.Y.), who will leave the House next year after losing his district’s primary race.

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Democrats are favored to win control of the House come November, making whomever is chosen as top Democrat on the committee panel next year’s chair.

Sherman is considered a long shot for the gavel despite his ranking on the committee, where top Democratic posts are often decided by seniority within the panel.

Meeks, the third-ranking member, and Castro, the 10th-ranking member, are expected to be the front-runners, more representative of the national call to increase diversity in positions of leadership and of the growing progressive wing in the Democratic party.

Sherman on Wednesday sought to distinguish himself from his competitors, saying he would abandon the traditional ethos of the Foreign Affairs committee that policy should be bipartisan, and advance Democratic legislation over minority opposition.

“Traditionally, Foreign Affairs Committee markups have been by consensus. I would depart from that tradition to pass bills that reflect Democratic priorities, even over the objections of the minority party,” he wrote in his letter to colleagues.

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Sherman further said he would focus the committee’s priorities on Africa and Latin America and stressed a commitment to human rights, inspired by his wife’s work at the State Department in the Bureau of Democracy and Human Rights, he said.

He touted his experience of 24 years on the committee and his most recent authorship of the Hong Kong Autonomy Act, signed into law last week by President TrumpDonald TrumpUkraine's president compares UN to 'a retired superhero' Collins to endorse LePage in Maine governor comeback bid Heller won't say if Biden won election MORE, that directs sanctions against Chinese officials and entities known to have violated Hong Kong’s independence.

“For almost 24 years, I have served on, and dedicated my professional life to, the Foreign Affairs Committee. I have served on every one of the Committees’ six subcommittees, and I have served as Chair or Ranking Member of a Foreign Affairs subcommittee for over 17 years,” Sherman wrote.

“I look forward to listening to my colleagues on how we can best utilize the Foreign Affairs Committee to advance Democratic values,” he added.