Thursday, November 4, 2010;
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.)
The first Cuban American and woman of Hispanic origin elected to the House, Ros-Lehtinen represents the Miami area. She was one of the three Republicans who did not sign the 1994 Contract With America because she thought it was inhumane to deny welfare benefits to legal immigrants. But her politics will represent a stark contrast with her predecessor and the White House. Ros-Lehtinen opposed any overtures to Fidel Castro and will probably oppose any White House pressure on Israel. According to Foreign Policy, she will probably push for more strongly enforcing U.S. sanctions on Iran while cutting the foreign aid budget in the authorization bill.
Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.)
The voluble King would be making a return trip to the helm of this panel, which he chaired from 2005 until Democrats regained control of the House in 2006. A TV-ready moderate Republican, King has regularly championed money for his home state after 150 residents of his Long Island district were killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Overseeing the goliath that is the Homeland Security Department, King will probably challenge arbitrary funding formulas - in the past, he has complained that New York will "never" get enough money - and he wants to see terrorists tried at military commissions and kept at an open Guantanamo Bay prison camp.
Mike Rogers (R-Mich.)
With the pending retirement of current ranking Republican Rep. Peter Hoekstra (Mich.), Rogers is the leading candidate to become chairman of this panel. Rogers is a former FBI agent with a background that is made to order for overseeing the nation's web of intelligence agencies.
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.)
A 20-year veteran of the Judiciary panel and a former head of its Immigration subcommittee, Smith is one of the most influential Republicans on immigration issues. In 1996, Smith rewrote the country's immigration laws to speed deportation; limited parole and bond for certain offenses for illegal immigrants; and expanded deportable offenses. He also endorsed a bill that would have changed the 14th Amendment to deny U.S. citizenship to children of illegal immigrants. In 2005, Smith sponsored a bill that ended birthright citizenship, but it did not advance. He also wants to construct a 700-mile fence along the U.S.-Mexico border. Look for this committee to be all immigration, all the time.