Jan Schakowsky, Mike Quigley poised to take on more powerful roles in Democratic House

WASHINGTON — When the Democrats take over the House in January, Illinois Reps. Jan Schakowsky and Mike Quigley will be among the top power players.

Quigley, poised to become what is nicknamed a “Cardinal” on the Appropriations Committee, told me on Thursday that with his new power, “I can help dramatically bring resources back to the region, into the state.”

Schakowsky is in line for three influential spots: chair of an Energy and Commerce subcommittee; chief Deputy Whip; and as a member of the Democrats’ Steering and Policy Committee, which controls crucial committee assignments and shapes policy and message.

Another Illinois Democrat, Rep. Cheri Bustos, is angling for a leadership spot as either chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee or as the committee’s assistant leader.

Schakowsky is a member of Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi’s inner circle and a strong backer of Pelosi’s bid to become Speaker of the House.

The 18 Illinois House members elected on Tuesday include 13 Democrats and only five Republicans.

There is a lot of maneuvering behind the scenes from those looking to get on the top panels: Appropriations, Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce.

Here’s a snapshot on the Illinois impact of the Democrats grabbing the House from Republicans:

• Quigley, a member of the House Committee on Appropriations, will become the chair of its Financial Services subcommittee. The Appropriations panel has 12 subcommittees and those chairs are referred to as “Cardinals” on Capitol Hill.

That panel has jurisdiction over the judiciary and also holds the purse strings over many other units of government, including: the General Services Administration; Consumer Product Safety Commission; Federal Communications Commission; Federal Election Commission; and the Office of Government Ethics.

Quigley, who has gained a national profile for his work on the House Intelligence panel, will now have a more powerful platform to restart investigations dealing with Russia and President Donald Trump; election security and whether Trump improperly blocked the moving of FBI headquarters in order to benefit his hotel across the street.

• Schakowsky, a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, is in line to chair the Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection subcommittee.

• Dan Lipinski, a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, told me he has a “decent chance” of becoming the chair of the Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials subcommittee, which is a big deal for Chicago-area rail interests, from freight to CTA to Metra to Amtrak.

• Bobby Rush, also a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, is “expected to take over the chairmanship of the Energy Subcommittee,” his spokesman told me, with his agenda to be “developing an infrastructure package that would include resources for modernizing the electric grid, as well as upgrading the nation’s natural gas and lead water pipelines.”

• Bill Foster, a member of the Financial Services Committee, told me on Monday, “I’m close to being able to get a sub-committee chairmanship” on the panel.

• Brad Schneider is on three committees: Foreign Affairs, Judiciary and Small Business. He is in line to chair the subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy and Trade.

• Robin Kelly is making the case to be on Energy and Commerce.

• Raja Krishnamoorthi, a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is poised to chair  the Subcommittee on Healthcare, Benefits, and Administrative Rules —— if there is no reorganization in the new Congress. That panel has broad jurisdiction over health care policy and Social Security.

• Danny Davis, on the Ways and Means Committee, is now the top Democrat on the Subcommittee on Human Resources and on the Oversight and Trade Subcommittees and is in position to be a subcommittee chair.

• Newly elected Illinois Democrats Lauren Underwood, Sean Casten and Jesus “Chuy” Garcia will be attending orientation sessions here next week. Because Casten and Underwood represent tough competitive districts, the Democratic leadership will, if possible, give them better committee assignments. Garcia’s district is safe for Democrats.

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