Getting the top minority party post on new, little-known House panels isn’t always something to write home about. But when you represent Northern Virginia, and that subcommittee covers a wide range of federal government issues, the calculus changes a bit.
Rep. Gerald Connolly has been named the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on government operations, a perch that should give him a voice on a host of matters impacting the Washington area’s biggest industry.
The “uber-subcommittee,” as Connolly referred to it in a Wednesday interview, was created amid a broader reorganization of the full Oversight Committee.
“It’s going to deal with a broad swath of federal issues – IT, procurement, workplace issues, intergovernmental operations. … Its jurisdiction is very broad,” Connolly said.
The subcommittee will be chaired by Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), who was recently forced by term limits to give up the gavel of the powerful Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The two men developed a relationship, Connolly said, back when the Democrat was chairing the Fairfax Board of Supervisors and they worked on the Dulles rail project.
Mica was supportive of that effort, and Connolly said they plan to have lunch soon and talk about the new subcommittee agenda. “I think there is plenty to do that is nonpartisan and very constructive,” Connolly said, particularly on technology issues.
The duo is more likely to part ways on federal workforce issues, particularly on pay and benefits, as Connolly believes Mica and his fellow Republicans too frequently mount “verbal attacks and legislative attacks” on government workers.
“If you’re looking for an area where we’re going to clash, that’s a candidate,” Connolly said.
Mica, for his part, said earlier this month that chairing the new subcommittee “will allow me to continue my work in pursuing government waste and inefficiency with very broad jurisdiction.”