Election: New York may lose its power in CongressBy Tom Brune
October 23, 2010
WASHINGTON - Deep blue New York would lose much of its clout on Capitol Hill if Republicans win control of the U.S. House as most analysts are now predicting.
New York lawmakers stand to lose chairmanships of three congressional committees - including the investigative Oversight Committee and the agenda-setting Rules panel - and of nine subcommittees, including two on the powerful Appropriations Committee.
Instead, the New York delegation would control just one committee: Rep. Pete King (R-Seaford) as chair of the Homeland Security Committee.
"The total clout of New York will decline significantly, and it's a continuation of the shift of power away from New York," said Baruch College political scientist Doug Muzzio.
The power loss would happen because New York's congressional delegation is so Democratic: just two of its 29 members are Republicans.
That could change on Nov. 2. Republicans are targeting eight New York Democrats. The GOP must net 39 seats nationally to take over.
In the House, majority rules, so if the GOP wins it would control all committee and subcommittee chairs - and determine what issues get hearings, who testifies and what's probed.
"Given the lack of any type of bipartisanship, New York is in for beating," Muzzio said.
Long Island's King will regain the chairmanship he held when Republicans ran the House until 2006. But Democratic Reps. Gary Ackerman of Roslyn Heights and Carolyn McCarthy of Mineola will lose subcommittee chairmanships.
Ackerman now chairs the Middle East and South Asia subcommittee, and McCarthy chairs the Health, Families and Communities subcommittee.
The most significant shift for President Barack Obama could be at the helm of the Oversight and Government Affairs Committee, now chaired by Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-Brooklyn).
His likely successor, Republican Rep. Darrell Issa of California, said he'll aggressively scrutinize Obama's administration.
Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-Fairport) would lose her chair at the Rules Committee, a key committee that sets the agenda and determines the fate of bills.
Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-Brooklyn) would lose hers at the Small Business Committee.
On the Appropriations Committee, Rep. Nita Lowey (D-Harrison) and Rep. Jose Serrano (D-Bronx) would lose their posts as "cardinals," or powerful subcommittee chairs.
Already, Muzzio noted, New York lost its biggest chairmanship when Rep. Charles Rangel (D-Manhattan) stepped down from heading the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee amid a House ethics probe.
And New York is expected to lose two more House seats after redistricting next year, dropping its total to 27.
New York lost two seats in 2000 and three seats in 1990.