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California Capitol Hill Bulletin
Volume 13, Bulletin 30 — November 10, 2006    [or see pdf version]  [or jump to the previous bulletin]


Election 2006: Pelosi Ascendancy to Speakership Marks First Time a Woman or a Californian Has Held House’s Top Post

Election 2006: Two New Californians To Join State’s House Delegation

Election 2006: California Senators to Assume Committee Chairs in New Year — Feinstein on Rules, Boxer on Environment & Public Works

Election 2006: House Shift Costs California the Chairmanship of Appropriations, Other Committees

Election 2006: Returning California Republican House Members Gain Seniority On Committees

Election 2006: California Democrats Positioned To Assume Several Full Committee Chairmanships in the 110th Congress

Election 2006: Committee Membership Seniority For California Democrats To Change Only Incrementally

Election 2006: Institute Posts Committee Analysis on Website

To expand communications between Washington and California, the California Institute provides periodic bulletins regarding current activity on Capitol Hill that affects our state.  Bulletins are published weekly during sessions of Congress, and occasionally during other periods.


Election 2006: Pelosi Ascendancy to Speakership Marks First Time a Woman or a Californian Has Held House’s Top Post

          The 110th Congress will continue Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s (San Francisco) string of firsts. She was already, and still is, the first woman to serve as majority or minority leader in either chamber of Congress. In January 2007, she will become not only the first woman to serve as Speaker of the House but also the first Californian ever to ascend to that post.

          In addition, it will be only the second time that a Speaker has hailed from outside the nation’s Eastern or Central Time zones (Washington State’s Tom Foley was the first, serving from 1989 to 1994.) Moreover, the western U.S. will be in the unusual position of counting among their own the top leaders of both chambers when Senator Harry Reid (NV) becomes majority leader of the U.S. Senate.

 Election 2006: Two New Californians To Join State’s House Delegation

          On November 7, 2006, two new Californians were elected to the House of Representatives for the 110th Congress beginning in January 2007.

          Jerry McNerney unseated Richard Pombo in California’s 11th District, which covers portions of Santa Clara County up through Contra Costa, Alameda, and a large portion of San Joaquin County. Kevin McCarthy was elected to take retiring Representative Bill Thomas’ seat in the 22nd, which covers most of Kern and San Luis Obispo Counties, and a small northeastern Los Angeles County.

          Rep.-elect McNerney was born in Albuquerque, N.M., but has lived in Pleasanton since 1990. He is a wind engineer who heads a company that manufactures wind turbines for energy. McNerney attended a military academy in Kansas for high school and graduated from the University of New Mexico, where he earned a doctorate in math and engineering in 1981. He ran unsuccessfully against Pombo in 2004 as a write-in candidate, prior to which he had no political experience. He is married and has three children.

          Rep.-elect McCarthy was born in Bakersfield, where he still lives. He earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in business from California State University, Bakersfield and began his career as a small business owner and entrepreneur, starting a deli before age 2. McCarthy is serving his second term in the Assembly and is the Republican minority leader there.

          Additional biographical and contact information may be available at the Members-elect’s campaign websites, at: and .

Election 2006: California Senators to Assume Committee Chairs in New Year — Feinstein on Rules, Boxer on Environment & Public Works

          With the Senate’s move to a 51-49 majority for the Democrats in the 110th Congress, both Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer are set to move up the seniority ladder and take control of two important Senate Committees.

          Senator Feinstein is expected to become Chair of the Committee on Rules and Administration. Although Senator Christopher Dodd (CT) is more senior on the panel, he is expected to assume the chairmanship of the Banking Committee, thereby freeing Rules for Senator Feinstein. The Senate Rules Committee has jurisdiction over federal elections, Senate ethics issues, and the administration of the Senate among other matters. Unfinished legislation on the Committee’s agenda next year may include improvements in the federal voting process, ethics reform, and campaign finance issues. In addition, Senator Feinstein has indicated that she will move on a provision requiring that Senators requesting earmarks in legislation must be identified.

          Senator Feinstein also sits on the Judiciary, Appropriations, Energy and Natural Resources, and Intelligence Committees. In the current Congress, she is Ranking Member of the Committee on Judiciary’s Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security Subcommittee, and sits on the Immigration, Border Security and Citizenship Subcommittee, and the Crime, Corrections and Victims Rights Subcommittee. Sen. Feinstein will retain her 5th rank seniority on the Committee in the 110th Congress.

          On the Appropriations Committee, Feinstein is currently Ranking Member of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee. She also sits on the Energy and Water Development Subcommittee, Agriculture Subcommittee, Interior Subcommittee, and Defense Subcommittee. She will retain her rank as 10th in seniority on the Committee in the new Congress.

          Sen. Feinstein also sits on the Water and Power Subcommittee and the Forests and Public Land Management Subcommittee of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. She will be continue to be 7th in seniority on the Committee in the 110th Congress.

          The Senate Intelligence Committee does not have subcommittees.

          Senator Boxer is poised to take the gavel at the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee. Current EPW Ranking Democrat Max Baucus is expected to assume the chairmanship of the Senate Finance Committee — which comes open due to the retirement of Senator Paul Sarbanes (MD) — thereby freeing the EPW chair for Senator Boxer. The Committee has jurisdiction over environmental issues and construction and regulation of public buildings and public works and transportation projects. Possible agenda items for the new Chair include reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

          Senator Boxer also serves on the Foreign Relations Committee and the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. On Foreign Relations, she will move up to 5th in seniority. She is currently Ranking Member of the Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs Subcommittee. She also sits on the International Operations and Terrorism Subcommittee, where she will continue to be 4th in seniority. On the Western Hemisphere, Peace Corps and Narcotics Affairs Subcommittee, on which she also serves, she will continue to be 3rd in seniority.

          On the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, she will remain 5th in seniority. She is currently Ranking Member of the National Ocean Policy Study Subcommittee, and will maintain her current seniority rankings on the Aviation Subcommittee, the Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Subcommittee, and the Consumer Affairs, Product Safety, and Insurance Subcommittee.

          For more information, visit or .

Election 2006: House Shift Costs California the Chairmanship of Appropriations, Other Committees

          The November 2006 switch of party control in the House of Representatives will wrest from Californians’ hands the gavels of several key committees, including arguably the most coveted of all, the House Appropriations Committee. Rep. Jerry Lewis (Redlands) has occupied the Chair of Appropriations for just two years, and he would have been eligible to retain the post for another four, according to the six-year rule imposed on chairs by the Republican leadership. In the 110th Congress, the gavel will go to ranking Democrat David Obey from Wisconsin. (House Democrats have not applied term limits to chairmanships in the past.) While the loss of the chairmanship is a major blow, the bipartisan nature of the Appropriations Committee’s business and operating style suggest that Lewis will remain highly influential, even as a minority member of the panel.

          The shift of Republicans to House minority status will move other California Members out of the chair position of other panels as well. Rep. Duncan Hunter (Alpine) will shift from Chair to Ranking Minority Member on the Armed Services Committee. Rep. Ike Skelton (MO) will assume the Armed Services chair post after the new Congress is sworn in during January 2007.

          Rep. Buck McKeon (Santa Clarita) must relinquish the Education & the Workforce Committee chairmanship that he has held for less than a year. The Education panel will remain in California hands, however, as Rep. George Miller (Vallejo) will take the gavel in the 110th. Miller and McKeon have had a close working relationship in the past.

          The November election yielded more than one way to end the House Resources Committee chairmanship of Rep. Richard Pombo (Tracy). Regardless whether Republicans had retained the majority, Pombo was defeated in his reelection bid by Jerry McNerney. Pombo was the only California member to be unseated in this election.

          After six years at the helm of the House Ways & Means Committee, the tenure of Chairman Bill Thomas (Bakersfield) was coming to an end, and he chose to retire from the House at the close of the 109th Congress.

          And Rep. David Dreier (Covina) had remained as chair of the House Rules Committee for four terms (gaining a special waiver to serve two years over the six-year limit imposed on all other chairmen), so his tenure at that post was expected to end in any case.  He will likely remain an influential figure and will continue to be the senior member of the Rules Committee in the 110th Congress, however.  And Rep. Dreier’s seniority and leadership posts likely would have yielded the chairmanship of another committee once he relinquished the Rules panel.  He had been considered a strong candidate for the helm of the Financial Services Committee.

          Nevertheless, while California Republicans held an unprecedented six chairmanships in the 109th Congress, several of those positions would have ended regardless which party won a majority in the 110th.

Election 2006: Returning California Republican House Members Gain Seniority On Committees

          In their new role in the House minority, California Republican Members of Congress will return to the 110th Congress with increased party seniority on the committees on which they serve. After the 2006 elections, at least 35 incumbent House Republicans will not be back for the 110th Congress. (At press time, eight more House Republicans were in races that had not yet been decided, though most of them were expected ultimately to be declared the winner of their respective races.) The vacancies created by departure of more than 15 percent of incumbent Republicans opens allows most California’s 18 returning Republican Members of Congress to climb several rungs in committee seniority rankings.

          For example, while the retirement from Congress of Rep. Bill Thomas (Bakersfield) removes him from the top among Republicans at the Ways & Means Committee, a Californian will remain at the panel’s number one rank. Since both Reps. Clay Shaw (FL) and Nancy Johnson (CT) were defeated in their reelection bids, Rep. Wally Herger (Marysville) ascends from the 4th rank in the 109th Congress to become the new Ranking Member on Ways & Means. And with five more Republican members (for a total of eight) of the Committee not returning in 2007, Rep. Devin Nunes (Tulare) ascends in his party’s rank on the panel from 23rd to 15th.

          On the Appropriations Committee, Chairman Jerry Lewis (Redlands) loses the gavel but remains the top member of his party. The other California Republican, Rep. John Doolittle (Roseville) adds four notches (from 25th to 21st), and he could add one more after a December runoff election that could threaten senior Rep. Henry Bonilla (TX).

          On Armed Services, Rep. Duncan Hunter (Alpine) will remain the top Republican (shifting from Chairman to Ranking Minority Member). With the departure of five senior members of the panel, Rep. Ken Calvert (Corona) moves from 14th to 9th on Armed Services. (Calvert could ascend one more notch if the undecided race in North Carolina’s 8th District breaks against Rep. Robin Hayes.) And Rep. Brian Bilbray (San Diego) ascends from 34th to 28th on the Committee, and he theoretically might gain two more notches depending on the outcome of undecided races.

          California’s two Budget Committee members each gain seniority. Rep. Dan Lungren (Folsom) ascends from 13th to 11th, and Rep. John Campbell moves up three notches, from 22nd to 19th.

          On Energy & Commerce, Rep. George Radanovich (Mariposa) climbs one rung, from 18th to 17th most senior, and Rep. Mary Bono (Palm Springs) climbs two notches, from 21st to 19th. The still undecided races of Barbara Cubin (WY) and Heather Wilson (NM) could offer even more movement, though both members are still ahead in balloting as of press time.

          On Financial Services, the retirement of Chairman Michael Oxley allows Rep. Ed Royce (Fullerton) to gain one notch, to 6th most senior Republican. (The outcome of Ohio Republican Deborah Pryce’s undecided race could offer the opportunity to climb one more rung, possibly freeing a subcommittee chair.) Rep. Gary Miller (Diamond Bar) moves from 19th to 17th on Financial Services, and Rep. John Campbell moves from 36th to 31st.

          With only one Republican (Gil Gutnecht of Minnesota) on the Government Reform Committee leaving Congress, California’s two members are not given much of a boost; Rep. Darrell Issa (Vista) moves from 15th to 14th, and Rep. Brian Bilbray (San Diego) ascends from 23rd to 22nd. The outcome of Ohio Rep. Jean Schmidt’s race could let Bilbray move up one more notch.

          On International Relations, the retirement of Chairman Henry Hyde (IL) departure moves California’s four Republican members up by one level: Rep. Elton Gallegly (Simi Valley) to 4th, Dana Rohrabacher (Huntington Beach) to 6th, Ed Royce to 7th, and Darrell Issa to 12th.

          On the House Judiciary Committee, the Rep. Henry Hyde’s departure causes a one-rank seniority increase for Rep. Elton Gallegly to 4th and Dan Lungren to 7th. A more substantial increase comes for Rep. Darrell Issa who moves from 16th to 12th on Judiciary.

          The election day loss of Rep. Richard Pombo (Tracy) cost California a top full committee leader. Pombo’s departure from House Resources Committee allows a one-level seniority increase for Reps. Elton Gallegly (from 4th to 3rd), Ken Calvert (7th to 6th), and George Radanovich (9th to 8th).

          On the House Science Committee, the departure of two top ranking members allow ascension for two Californians. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher rises from 5th to 3rd, and Rep. Ken Calvert rises from 6th to 4th.

          Rep. Gary Miller, the sole California Republican on the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, gets one boost (from 16th to 15th) from the retirement of Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (NY).

          On the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, the retirement of Rep. Mike Bilirakis (FL) affords a one-notch gain each for Rep. John Campbell (to 13th) and Rep. Brian Bilbray (to 14th).

          For more details, including changed ranking of all members from all states, see the California Institute’s website, .

Election 2006: California Democrats Positioned To Assume Several Full Committee Chairmanships in the 110th Congress

          After the new Congress convenes January 2007, California Members of Congress will hold several committee chairmanships. Members from the state are currently the top ranking Democrats on several committees, and they are presumed to be first in line to chair full committees in the 110th Congress. At least five full committee chairs are expected to be filled by Californians.

          Rep. George Miller (Vallejo) is in line to become chair of the Education & Workforce Committee, keeping the gavel in a Californian’s hands — the current chair is Republican Buck McKeon (Santa Clarita). Rep. Tom Lantos (San Mateo) is expected to become Chairman of the International Relations Committee, assuming the gavel from Republican Henry Hyde (IL). Rep. Henry Waxman (Los Angeles) will assume the chair of the Government Reform Committee, taking over for Virginia’s Tom Davis; the panel has oversight authority over activities of the executive branch. The House Administration Committee, which manages the internal workings of the House of Representatives and member offices, will be chaired by Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald (Carson). In addition, the retirement of Rep. Lane Evans (IL) frees up the chairmanship of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and Rep. Bob Filner (San Diego) is next in line to become the panel’s leader.

          Californians serve as ranking Democrats on two other panels, but they are considered unlikely to chair those same committees in the 110th. Rep. Howard Berman (North Hollywood) is the senior Democrat on the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct (a.k.a. the Ethics Committee), but he has been in the process of leaving the panel. And Rep. Jane Harman (Venice) is most senior on the Select Committee on Intelligence, but she is considered unlikely to take the panel’s chair position.

Election 2006: Committee Membership Seniority For California Democrats To Change Only Incrementally

          In the House, far fewer incumbent Democrats than incumbent Republicans will not be returning for the 110th Congress. In all, only eight Democrats (compared to 35 Republicans) will not make it back to Congress in January 2007, although two more could be added to the list if two as yet undecided contest were to break against the incumbents.

          On the House Agriculture Committee, 5th ranking Joe Baca (Rialto) will remain the 5th most senior Democrat, whereas Dennis Cardoza (Atwater) steps up one notch from 7th to 6th, and Rep. Jim Costa (Fresno) gains two slots, from 14th to 12th. Rep. Baca is expected to become chair of the Subcommittee, of which he is presently Ranking Democrat, that handles dairy issues. With the retirement of Rep. Ed Case (HI), Cardoza may also be in line for a subcommittee chairmanship (Case had chaired the Livestock and Horticulture panel).

          California Democrats do not hold high rank on the House Appropriations Committee, but both Reps. Lucille Roybal Allard (Los Angeles) and Sam Farr (Carmel) gain one notch on the panel, to 20th and 21st most senior, respectively. California lost two senior Democrats on the panel in recent years, with the death of Rep. Julian Dixon in 2000 and the ascendance to House Minority Leader of Rep. Nancy Pelosi in 2002.

          On Armed Services, California’s three Democrats each gain one step. In the 110th Congress, Rep. Loretta Sanchez (Anaheim) will rank 10th, Reps. Ellen Tauscher (Alamo) at 12th, and Susan Davis (San Diego) at 15th.

          California’s only Democrat on the Budget Committee, Lois Capps (Santa Barbara), moves from 7th to 6th, owing to the departure of Harold Ford Jr. who left to pursue an unsuccessful bid for Senate.

          In addition to George Miller’s assumption of the chairmanship of the Education & the Workforce Committee, California’s two other panel members will advance one position each. Rep. Lynn Woolsey (Petaluma) moves from 7th to 6th, and Rep. Susan Davis moves up from 15th to 14th. Woolsey is ranking Democrat on the panel’s Education Reform Subcommittee and will likely take the chair job.

          On the Energy & Commerce Committee, Rep. Henry Waxman (Los Angeles) remains second-ranking, behind incoming chairman John Dingell (MI), who turned 80 earlier this year. Rep. Anna Eshoo (Atherton) gains one rank to 9th, Rep. Lois Capps gains two slots to 15th, and Rep. Hilda Solis (Los Angeles) gains three ranks, climbing to 19th most senior.

          Changes on Financial Services are minimal, leaving most Californians ranking status quo. Unchanged levels include Rep. Maxine Waters (Los Angeles) at 3rd, Rep. Brad Sherman at 11th, and Barbara Lee at 13th. Rep. Joe Baca is the only Financial Services member to change ranks, increasing by one to 21st.

          Rep. Henry Waxman will be a focal point at the Government Reform Committee, becoming its chairman. Rep. Tom Lantos will be 2nd ranking, Rep. Dianne Watson (Los Angeles) will gain one rank to 10th, and Rep. Linda Sanchez (Lakewood) gains one notch, to 13th.

          On Homeland Security, California retains unchanged rankings for Loretta Sanchez (2nd), Jane Harman (5th), and Zoe Lofgren (9th). Sanchez will likely swap jobs with Republican Dan Lungren (Folsom), who currently chairs the Subcommittee on Economic Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Cybersecurity. Lofgren is now ranking Democrat on the Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing, and Terrorism Risk Assessment.

          In addition to Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald’s chairing of the House Administration panel, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (San Jose) retains her 3rd ranking position.

          The International Relations Committee includes a whopping Eight 8 C. It will be chaired by Rep. Tom Lantos (San Mateo), and the committee Democrats include Rep. Howard Berman, who ranks 2nd , Brad Sherman (6th), Barbara Lee (11th), Grace Napolitano (15th), Adam Schiff (16th), Diane Watson (17th), and Dennis Cardoza (23rd). Sherman is presently ranking Democrat on the Subcommittee on International Terrorism and Nonproliferation.

          House Judiciary also supports a broad range of California members in the new majority. Rep. Howard Berman ranks 2nd, just behind Chairman John Conyers, and Berman serves as ranking Democrat on the Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property. Other Californians include Reps. Zoe Lofgren (7th), Maxine Waters (9th), Adam Schiff (14th), and Linda Sanchez (15th).

          No change either for California Democrats on the House Resources Committee. Rep. Grace Napolitano (Norwalk) ranks 9th and she serves as chair of the Water & Power Subcommittee. Other California Democrats include Jim Costa (13th), George Miller (16th) and Dennis Cardoza (21st).

          On the House Rules Committee, Doris Matsui’s rank holds unchanged at 4th.

          Science Committee Democrats include Reps. Woolsey (4th), Mike Honda (98h), Brad Sherman (13th), Jim Costa (16th), and Doris Matsui (20th). Rep. Honda is ranking Democrat on the Subcommittee on Energy.

          Two Californian Democrats serve on the House Small Business Committee, Juanita Millender-McDonald ranks 2nd and Linda Sanchez moves up one rank point, to 11th.

          In addition to Rep. Howard Berman, the most senior Democrat on the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard ranks 4th.

          On Transportation and Infrastructure, California supplies four Democrats. Among them are 8th ranking Bob Filner, 11th ranking Juanita Millender-McDonald, 14th ranked Ellen Tauscher, and 21st ranked Mike Honda.

          Ways and Means 2nd ranking Democrat Pete Stark (Fremont) will likely chair of the Health Subcommittee, a position he held before the Republicans took the House majority in 1994. Rep. Xavier Becerra (Los Angeles) gains one level (from 7th to 6th), and Rep. Mike Thompson (St. Helena) moves from 14th to 13th on the panel.

          For more details, including changed ranking of all members from all states, see .

Election 2006: Institute Posts Committee Analysis on Website

          On November 10, 2006, the California Institute posted on its website a breakout of possible House committee changes pursuant to House membership and majority changes set in motion by the November 2006 general election. The breakout, showing full committee membership in the 109th Congress and changes anticipated for the 110th, is available in text format at and in Adobe Acrobat “pdf” format at .

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