Clyburn Joins Appropriations Committee
The new leader of the Congressional Black Caucus has achieved one goal so far for the 106th Congress, but at least one other important objective still remains.Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), the new CBC chief, won an appointment to the powerful House Appropriations Committee in December. The appointment gives Clyburn an opportunity to influence annual federal spending bills on K-12 and higher education as well as health care and employment issues.The victory is important because the CBC lost a member of the Appropriations Committee to retirement this year when Rep. Louis Stokes (D-Ohio) did not seek re-election. Stokes, a 15-term lawmaker, was the third most senior Democrat on the appropriations panel.But Clyburn has yet to realize one of his other early goals for the new Congress — renewed visibility of the Congressional Black Caucus. Four years ago, the incoming Republican leadership terminated funding and office space for the CBC and other caucuses, and with the departure of House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), Clyburn wants to revisit the issue.Clyburn has had little chance to press his case, however, with top House GOP leadership posts in flux. Gingrich’s announced replacement, Rep. Bob Livingston (R-La.), also has announced his intention to leave Congress. Livingston, after acknowledging past extramarital affairs, an-nounced his plans to resign just before last month’s impeachment vote. Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) then became the leading candidate for House Speaker. The new head of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus also won a vacant seat on the appropriations panel for the new Congress. Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, (D-Calif.) recently elected to a fourth term, will join the committee beginning in January.Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., (D-Ill.), son of the civil rights leader, also received an appointment to the appropriations panel. Overall, Democrats made seven new appointments to the committee after a large number of senior members retired this fall.House Republicans and Democrats are moving to fill vacancies on key committees, but will not complete their work until sometime this month. The GOP has already named five lawmakers to vacancies on the Education and Labor Committee, the panel that oversees K-12 and higher education programs.One of the new GOP members is Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), who held the number four House leadership spot in the last Congress. Boehner lost his leadership post when Republicans instead chose Rep. J.C. Watts (R-Okla.) for the job. Watts, a former college and pro quarterback, is the only African American Republican in Congress.
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