Five Ohio Republicans may get top committee spots in new Congress


By Sabrina Eaton - cleveland.com (TNS)



Latta

Latta


U.S. Reps. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, left, and Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green, right.

U.S. Reps. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, left, and Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green, right.


WASHINGTON, D.C. - Republicans from Ohio could end up calling the shots for their party on as many as five U.S. House of Representatives committees next year if their months of internal campaigning pay off.

Rep. Bob Latta of Bowling Green is running to be top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Marietta’s Bill Johnson wants to lead the GOP contingent on the House Budget Committee. Rep. Mike Turner of Dayton is seeking his party’s top spot on the House Armed Services Committee.

If Cincinnati’s Steve Chabot continues as the top Small Business Committee Republican, and Champaign County’s Jim Jordan stays on as ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, as he plans to do, the state’s Republicans could set much of the GOP’s agenda when Congress reconvenes in January.

While they won’t control the legislative program as long as Democrats control the U.S. House of Representatives, holding the top job in the minority party gives them input on legislation along with the prospect of sliding into the driver’s seat if Republicans win control of the House in the 2022 elections.

Latta doesn’t believe the prospect of having so many GOP committee leaders from one state will hurt any contenders’ prospects, noting that Texas once controlled a disproportionate number of chairmanships. He has repeatedly pressed his case with colleagues on a GOP steering committee that will meet sometime after Thanksgiving to decide who heads the party’s delegation on each congressional committee.

“It just happens to be that Ohio members are gaining the seniority they need on the House committees to run them,” says Latta, who began campaigning for the Energy and Commerce post after its current occupant announced his retirement more than a year ago. Texan Michael Burgess and Washington’s Cathy McMorris Rodgers are also seeking the job.

Latta, who is currently the top Republican on its communications and technology subcommittee, argues he’s best equipped to lead the full committee because he’s served on all six of its subcommittees and had 30 pieces of legislation passed out of the committee or signed into law. That includes legislation to crack down on robo calls, a drinking water protection bill to fight toxic algal blooms in the Great Lakes, and a law that established a tracking system for pharmaceutical drugs through the supply chain to prevent adulterated and counterfeit drugs from endangering Americans. He says he knows the policies and can communicate them.

If he gets the job, Latta said he will focus on issues like improving rural broadband access, boosting domestic manufacturing jobs, ensuring that the United States can continue to supply its own energy, and producing “soft touch” regulations that won’t hinder innovation.

He says there are many different areas the committee needs to work on to we need to “make sure that we stay on top and we’re also leading across the world.”

Turner, whose congressional district includes Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, is seeking his party’s top job on the House Armed Services Committee, which sets defense policy. He is currently top Republican on its Strategic Forces Subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over the nation’s nuclear arsenal, Defense Department intelligence programs, and missile defense systems. Others expected to seek the post include Alabama’s Mike Rogers.

Turner announced his run for the job in September, telling Dayton news media he’d continue using the post to strengthen the Air Force base.

“Every day, I have fought to strengthen our national security, bring more jobs to Wright-Patt, and grow the defense industry outside of the fence as well.,” Turner told Dayton Business Journal, which reported he’s been endorsed for the job by former U.S. House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio and former Armed Services Chair Buck McKeon of California.

Johnson is running for the top Republican spot on the House Budget Committee, against Jason Smith of Missouri, who is immediately behind Johnson in committee seniority on the committee. Its current top Republican, Steve Womack of Arkansas, has endorsed Johnson as his successor, according to Johnson spokesman Benjamin Keeler. The committee, which was once chaired by former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, formulates a Congressional framework each year for spending and revenue levels, the federal surplus or deficit, and public debt.

“Johnson is running for the post to stop House Democrats from using the budget reconciliation process to push through massive new federal spending (the Green New Deal, Medicare for All and Obamacare expansion), while preserving the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,,” said a statement from Keeler. “As a veteran himself, Johnson will also be leading the fight against likely cuts to defense spending as well as pushing to strengthen and preserve Medicare.”

Other members of Congress from Ohio plan to stay where they are, including Rep. Bob Gibbs of Holmes County. He plans to continue as top Republican on the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee, said his spokesman Dallas Gerber.

“That being said, if there’s a ranking membership opportunity in which his personal and congressional experience can further the conservative cause, he will certainly be open to it,” Gerber said of Gibbs.

Rep. Dave Joyce of Bainbridge Township will likely remain the top Republican on the House Appropriations subcommittee that funds the Interior department and environmental programs, and Rep. Steve Stivers of Columbus plans to stay on as the top Republican on the House Financial Services subcommittee that oversees housing, community development and insurance, his office said. Both are members of the GOP steering committee that picks committee leaders.

Cincinnati’s Brad Wenstrup, who currently serves as the top Republican on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence’s defense intelligence and warfighter support subcommittee, anticipates that he will be the top Republican on that, or one of the other intelligence subcommittees in the next Congress. A Wenstrup spokesman said he’s also running to replace retiring Tennessee’ Rep. Phil Roe as chairman of a GOP Doctor’s Caucus that currently has around 18 members.

The delegation’s newest members, Anthony Gonzalez of Rocky River and Troy Balderson of Zanesville, who were both elected in 2018, and Warren Davidson of Miami County, who was elected in 2016, are not expected to seek any full committee or subcommittee chairs, their offices said.

“Congressman Balderson is honored to be able to serve in the capacity he’s had and looks forward continuing to serve the people of Central Ohio,” said his spokeswoman Erin Collins.

Among Democrats, Toledo’s Marcy Kaptur is seeking the top post on the House Appropriations Committee, Columbus’ Joyce Beatty is running for Congressional Black Caucus Chair, Marcia Fudge of Warrensville Heights is campaigning to be incoming president Joe Biden’s Secretary of Agriculture, and Tim Ryan of the Niles area is in line to continue chairing an appropriations subcommittee that oversees congressional funding.

Latta
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2020/11/web1_Latta-Bob-submitted-1.jpgLatta
U.S. Reps. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, left, and Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green, right.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2020/11/web1_Jordan-Latta.jpgU.S. Reps. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, left, and Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green, right.

By Sabrina Eaton

cleveland.com (TNS)

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