Political News

House Oversight Committee adds Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, other progressives to its ranks

Posted January 22, 2019 10:14 p.m. EST

— The powerful House Oversight Committee, which is expected to be at the center of investigations into President Donald Trump's administration, is getting several high-profile young members this Congress, among them freshman Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.

The Oversight Committee announced Tuesday that among its new members were Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rep. Ro Khanna of California. Politico first reported the committee appointments.

The Oversight Committee is a far-reaching and prominent panel, expected to be among the most active at investigating the Trump administration. The committee already has a blockbuster hearing on its schedule, as it's expected to hear public testimony from Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen early next month.

"Our Committee is the primary investigative body in Congress, and we will address the issues that affect the American people every day while we root out waste, fraud, and abuse," Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings of Maryland said in a statement announcing the members.

The committee placement ensures that some of the freshmen class's most outspoken Trump critics will continue to be in the spotlight representing, in part, the Democratic Party on the national stage in the coming months.

Pressley, who like Ocasio-Cortez got her seat after defeating an incumbent Democrat in the primary, is Massachusetts' first black female member of Congress.

Khanna, who is in his second term, is a leading progressive member in the House. He recently joined Ocasio-Cortez in bucking Democratic party leadership in voting against a House rules package over a requirement that new spending be offset by matching cuts or increases in revenue, a move they believed would thwart their ambitious policy plans.

Tlaib, the first Palestinian female member of Congress and one of two Muslim women members of Congress, drew attention recently for her comments the night of her swearing-in when she used an expletive to push for Trump's impeachment, a position she's stated repeatedly. More than a year before she ran for her seat, Tlaib was in the news when she was thrown out of an event in Michigan, where Trump was speaking after interrupting the then-Republican presidential nominee in protest.

Ocasio-Cortez is arguably the most famous member of the freshman class, and since her swearing-in has made a steady stream of headlines over her nascent career on Capitol Hill. Ocasio-Cortez has so far given lessons to her Democratic colleagues on how to use Twitter -- one of her accounts has more than 2.5 million followers -- as well as advocated for progressive policy goals, including a suggestion to tax the wealthy as high as 70% to fund a climate change plan. She's been a lightning rod for conservative critics, as well as irritating some in her own party.

The Oversight Committee is not the only high-profile committee to which she's been assigned. Last week, Ocasio-Cortez also secured a seat on the House Financial Services Committee, chaired by prominent liberal Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters of California.