Signs of a power struggle between the establishment and progressive wings of the Democrats’ congressional caucus may be emerging, according to Breitbart reporter Wendell Husebo.
Progressive California Rep. Katie Porter (D) was quietly removed from the House Financial Services Committee earlier this year following frequent criticism of its chairwoman, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), Breitbart reported. According to a report from the Los Angeles Times, “Porter recently took aim at House Democrats’ rules and traditions for what is usually a behind-the-scenes competition to determine which lawmakers sit on which coveted committees.”
The decision was made by the House Steering Committee, a body run by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and “her allies,” Breitbart reported.
Porter has become the object of praise from left-wing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other members of the so-called progressive “Squad,” but was “ruffling the feathers” of the more establishment figures in the committee, according to the Times.
Pelosi controls committee assignments
Husebo pointed out that the only way Porter could have been kicked off the Financial Services Committee was with Pelosi’s approval. “Waters also holds sway with the Steering Committee’s authority to designate committee assignments,” he added.
Ocasio-Cortez defended Porter, telling the Los Angeles Times, “So many of us, regardless of ideology, run on ‘shaking up Washington.’ But then when you actually come here, there’s a lot of consequences for doing that.”
She continued, “There are many strong personalities in our class, and that leads to some ruffling of feathers, because we’re sent here literally to try to disrupt.”
Conflict between Waters and Porter
The conflict between Waters and Porter became evident after Waters sided with objections by Republican committee members over Porter’s attempt to set up a poster board.
The Los Angeles Times piece stated, “When Porter came back to another hearing with a ‘Financial Services bingo’ board, Waters again told her to take it down. ‘We’ve talked about this before,’ she said.”
The paper also noted that Pelosi turned down Porter’s request for a waiver that would be required for her to serve on multiple committees simultaneously.
“As the only single mother of young children in our Democratic Caucus, and an expert on consumer debt, mortgage lending, and bankruptcy, I bring deep knowledge and great passion to issues of economic justice and fairness,” Porter reportedly told Pelosi in the letter.
Despite the drama, Huesbo contended that the divisions within Pelosi’s caucus “are nowhere near as rambunctious — or public — as GOP infighting nearly a decade ago that paved the way for the removal of now-former Speaker John Boehner from office.”