House Democrats Round out Leadership Posts

Originally appeared in Roll Call.

House Democrats on Monday chose who will fill out the additional leadership posts created by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in an effort to overhaul how the caucus conducts its business.

The Democrats re-elected Rep. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico to chair the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Lujan’s position had been appointed and, despite disappointing results on Election Day which saw the party pick up far fewer seats than projected, he ran uncontested and was elected by unanimous consent, according to a source in the room.

It is one of several posts initially nominated by Pelosi and later voted on by the full caucus.

Democrats took some of Pelosi’s recommendations in choosing three co-chairs of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, which had been led by one, retiring Rep. Steve Israel, an ally of Pelosi, who created the position for him.

Reps. Cheri Bustos, Hakeem Jeffries and David Cicilline were voted to take those positions. Bustos and Jeffries had been nominated by Pelosi.

Rep. Tony Cardenas won a three-way race to serve as a member of the caucus who will sit in on regular leadership meetings. The position had been created by Pelosi in an effort to include members who had been in Congress for less time. The caucus last week agreed to amend its rules to allow for this appointment to be a member who has served five terms or less.

Pelosi on Monday also offered to include Rep. Filemon Vela, a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, to join the leadership meetings, a move she said she had done in the past when Democrats controlled the chamber.

The leadership meetings will also include a member of the freshman class, which Pelosi suggested be Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, even though she is returning to the House having previously held a seat representing Hawaii.

Pelosi on Monday also named two new vice chairs on the powerful Steering and Policy Committee.

Reps. Barbara Lee of California and Jared Polis of Colorado will join the panel that helps choose members to serve on House committees. Lee recently lost a bid to become caucus vice chair by two votes.