Connolly seeks federal oversight post after chair’s primary defeat | Govt-and-politics

Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-11th, wasted no time in launching a campaign to become Democratic leader of a powerful House of Representatives committee for oversight of federal government operations that are critical to his Northern Virginia district.

Connolly said Wednesday that he will seek to become the top Democrat on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, after the defeat of its chair, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-NY, in a Democratic primary on Tuesday night.

The seven-term Northern Virginia congressman has been a member of the oversight committee since he was first elected to Congress in 2008, focusing on issues important to federal employees in his district, reform of the U.S. Postal Service and investigating allegations of fraud, waste and abuse.

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Connolly is chairman of its government operations subcommittee, with jurisdiction over the federal civil service, the postal service, protection of whistleblowers, security of federal information technology and relationships with state and local governments.

“The American people must see the Committee on Oversight and Reform as a force for making government work, enforcing accountability to Congress, and most importantly, protecting our fragile democracy and strengthening the institutions that define American democratic resilience,” Connolly said in a statement on Wednesday.

Maloney lost her seat to Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-NY. Both Democratic incumbents were placed in the same House district in New York City during political redistricting last year. She had become the committee chair after the death of Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-MD, the ranking Democrat who became its leader that year after Democrats won majority control of the House in the 2018 election.

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Control of the House hangs in the balance again in the November midterm elections , but Connolly said he would seek to become the committee’s top-ranked Democrat to follow the path set by Cummings and Maloney. House Democrats who take office in January will choose the top Democrat on the panel.

“For more than fourteen years, I have made this committee my top priority and focused on the issues that define it,” he said, citing postal reform, “defending our proud federal employees,” modernizing federal government and accountability for the administration of former President Donald Trump.

Trump, a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2024, remains a target for Connolly. He also invoked the threat of insurrection by the former president’s supporters, who attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in an unsuccessful attempt to block Congress from certifying the election of President Joe Biden.

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“Our [party] caucus must continue to repair the damage left by the Trump administration, while also protecting the progress made by President Biden and our Democratic majorities,” Connolly said. “We need a tested leader who will not be timid in the face of Republican insurrectionists. One who has a deep understanding of the issues facing our committee and our country.”

Connolly’s district, encompassing almost all of Fairfax County and Fairfax City, has one of the highest concentrations of federal employees in the country. He previously served on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for 14 years, including five as chairman.

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