Is speaker-elect Pelosi contemplating a more comprehensive reorganization of homeland security authority in the House? A story in Saturday’s Washington Post suggests as much:
A Democratic leadership source, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the plans are not final, said Pelosi is likely to reorganize House committees to streamline jurisdiction over security matters.
I’ve indicated before that I think that the structure in the House for homeland security oversight, is relatively solid, especially in comparison with the Senate. There were a few jurisdictional fights in the House on homeland security issues in the 109th Congress, most notably the bout involving the Homeland Security Committee vs. Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) and Government Reform committeees on FEMA reform legislation, but this was minor in comparison with the many disputes in the Senate.
So what might Pelosi do to extend or modify the scope of the current arrangement? She could take away the remaining homeland security-related authority from T&I, Judiciary, and Government Reform, all of whom have been relatively active on homeland security issues in the 109th Congress, and shift it to the HSC. She could be contemplating a restructuring of the subcommittees on the HSC. Or perhaps this statement refers primarily to intelligence-related jurisdictional issues, such as the long-discussed proposal to create a new appropriations subcommittee for intelligence.
It will be interesting to watch these changes unfold. Given my longstanding interest in these issues, I’ll be following this closely.