Congressperson without committee assignments

Like in the case of the disciplined embarrassments MTG and Gosar: do these people even care? It’s not like they ever intended to make a contribution anywhere. No committee means much less work. I wonder if their constituents even know what a committee is.

Greene certainly does not. She is a new generation, which the GOP has a head start on. She doesn’t give a shit about governing or enacting policy. She doesn’t have a corporate class who are directly funding her, or anything like that. Her constituency will continue to be delighted by her remaining orthogonal to the legislative process and being a pariah in DC.

Gosar I’m not so sure about. He fits in a little more cleanly into the gerontocracy of national politics that still mostly thinks they’re there to do policy. The Tea Party era of new congress people was more outwardly crazy than the previous era, but they still genuinely cared about getting a Koch/Federalist style agenda enacted. Gosar happens to also be more capable of code-switching to Q Anon gibbering than most of his peers, but I think he wants to be on those committees and put in a long hard day’s work ruining the country. I think it remains to be seen if he is ready to do the full switch and be crazier than all comers in an Arizona district.

I’m sure that both MTG and Gosar would rather be on committees because they provide a highly visible platform. Every time you see a Senator or Congressman on TV expressing exaggerated outrage at Janet Yellen or Mark Zuckerberg that’s happening in a committee. Particularly for Republicans, committee hearings provide a regular opportunity to ask confrontational questions to Biden Administration officials to show the folks back home how they’re standing up to creeping socialism. It’s those video clips of them shouting and glowering at witnesses that are the real gold for Republicans.

By the way, next year when the Republicans take over the House (it’s inevitable, guys) they’re gonna turn right around and kick effective Democratic messengers like AOC and Katie Porter off of all committees.

It also gives you an early chance to kill off a bill you don’t like.

As soon as the Republicans take power, I’m sure they’ll waste no time in ginning up some bullshit outrage against AOC, Ilhan Omar and the rest of the Squad as an excuse to kick them off their committee assignments.

Anyway, if you get an assignment on a plum committee and manage to stick around long enough to chair said committee, or at least have a good deal of influence on the business the committee takes up, that can you give a great amount of clout in ushering, or not ushering, key bills through the legislative process.

And it in the old days, a good committee assignment would also allow you to direct some sweet, sweet pork barrel dollars to your district.

Even nowadays, though, depending on your district, a certain committee assignment could be key to getting much, if anything, done for your constituents or your financial backers. One of the reasons Steve King, who represented a rural district in Iowa, lost his primary, was because he was kicked off the agriculture committee, leaving him with little of the influence he needed to serve the farmers who made up a big part of his constituency.

I don’t think it works that way. The majority party gets one extra seat and the chair and the parties themselves decide who takes the seats respectively. If one party could decide assignments for the other, then why didn’t the Dems assign Liz Cheney to a committee as a giant FU to the Pubs? Why was it a party vote to remove her and not a House vote?

Traditionally it has worked this way – at the start of each Congress, the parties agree to ratios on committees (usually roughly in line with their percentages in the full House) and then party leaders decide who specifically from their party will take those seats. The full House then votes on the membership lists for the committees.

But in the House whatever a majority agrees to rules the day. MTG and Gosar were both removed from committees via a vote of the full House. If Republicans are in the majority next session and can command the necessary votes, there’s no reason why they can’t exclude or remove specific Democratic members from committees.

Liz Cheney, by the way, was removed from her position as Republican Conference Chair. This is not a committee assignment, but rather a position within the House Republican Caucus. She still has her committee assignments.

But you see Greene and Boebert all the time even though they aren’t doing that. They just tweet or start yelling at other reps wherever they happen to be standing. I’m sure given the opportunity she’d obviously prefer to be on the committee, but almost nothing that she’s done that’s been notable has been related to any committee activity. They do what Trump did and just ignore the way everyone else does business.

And speak of the devil (i.e. Kevin McCarthy), Republicans are already discussing which Democrats they’ll boot from committees next session.