House Democrats are placing Rep. Adam Schiff on a high-profile committee at the center of combating Republican investigations for the next two years, fresh off Speaker Kevin McCarthy booting him from another panel.
The California Democrat is one of a roster of party fighters who will now serve on the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees, with the full lineup of members approved by the House this week. Those Democrats will have to strategize how to counter to some of Republicans most high-profile and politically controversial probes, including into Hunter Biden and the Biden family, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and a broad sweep into the FBI and Justice Department.
Much of the House Judiciary Committee Democratic roster, led by ranking member Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), is a slimmed-down mirror of last year's line-up — besides the addition of Schiff, who officially launched a Senate bid last week shortly after McCarthy blocked him from the top party spot on the Intelligence Committee, and Rep. Glenn Ivey (D-Md.).
Democrats will get their first test run on pushing back against Republicans on the panel, chaired by McCarthy-antagonist-turned-ally Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), on Wednesday during the committee's first hearing, centered on the border. In addition to investigations, Democrats on the Judiciary Committee will be at the forefront of any impeachment inquiries, as Republicans have called for forcibly removing Mayorkas over his handling of the border.
Meanwhile, several new freshmen members have joined the Oversight Committee, including Rep. Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.), who was counsel to House Democrats during the first impeachment of former President Donald Trump.
The panel's Democrats also named Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) to serve as vice ranker, a possibility reported by POLITICO last week. It's a move that could be highly significant if Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) has to miss hearings as he undergoes cancer treatment.
The new members “have come from all over America to fight for their communities. Now they join the Democrats on the Oversight and Accountability Committee — the ‘Truth Squad’ — to conduct thorough and fact-based oversight to ensure an effective, efficient, and accountable American government that delivers for the American people,” Raskin said in a statement about Democrats’ line up.
Republicans on the Oversight Committee have vowed to investigate dozens of areas within the Biden administration. But they've signaled panel Republicans' main focus will be targeting President Joe Biden himself, primarily by delving into Hunter Biden’s business dealings and other members of the Biden family; the coronavirus pandemic, including federal government directives and the “origins” of the virus; the border, and the 2021 withdrawal from Afghanistan.
And the panel includes some of the House GOP’s most right-leaning members, including Reps. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Scott Perry (R-Pa.), the chair of the House Freedom Caucus.
Democrats still need to pick their members for a Republican-run select subcommittee that will look into the “weaponization” of the federal government, a concession McCarthy made to conservatives in order to secure the speakership.
McCarthy unveiled the GOP picks for the panel last week, naming 11 Republicans plus Jordan to lead the sweeping committee — more members than expected. The House is expected to pass a resolution expanding the size of the subcommittee, which would proportionally boost the number of Democratic seats.