WASHINGTON — New York City Rep. Carolyn Maloney is next in line to become the leader of the powerful House Oversight Committee after the death of Rep. Elijah Cummings — and she’s fighting for the spot.
Maloney previously lost out to Cummings for the top spot and is campaigning to ensure she is not passed over again to a junior member. If successful, she’d join Rep. Adam Schiff of the Intelligence Committee and Rep. Eliot Engel of the Foreign Affairs Committee as the three main leaders of the impeachment inquiry.
Maloney wrote her colleagues a letter last week outlining her accomplishments, including implementing the 9/11 victims compensation and health care programs and passing credit card reforms that save consumers $12.5 billion annually.
“I am currently the most senior member of the Committee, having served continuously since I was first elected to Congress in 1993. I am both humbled and grateful that, as acting chair, I am the first woman to hold the gavel,” Maloney wrote in a dear colleague letter.
Maloney, 73, is also holding private talks with members, including Oversight Committee Member Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
“I think she’s been great so far and I think she’s a fabulous candidate,” the Bronx progressive told The Post, who has not yet officially endorsed.
Already named acting chair, she has the most seniority to succeed the beloved Maryland Democrat, but several of her colleagues are stepping up believing they are more capable to lead the committee during the time of impeachment of President Trump.
She’s facing challenges from Rep. Jackie Speier, who sits on the Intelligence Committee and has been active on the impeachment probe, and Rep. Stephen Lynch, who’s touting his background as an attorney and having oversight as his “primary” committee.
Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-Va.) also wants the job.
“My contention is we need to put our best team on the field,” Connolly told The Post. “We have Donald Trump in the White House. … This is a very consequential moment. I don’t think we should approach this as business as usual.”
Maloney, a longtime New York pol who first served on City Council, has a flair for the dramatic and grabbing headlines.
She once wore a burka on the House floor to draw attention to the plight of Afghan women under the Taliban and most recently she refused to take off an FDNY jacket until Congress passed a reauthorization of the 9/11 victims compensation this year.
The millionaire pol is among the wealthiest in Congress and has used her influence on several pet projects such as bringing Chinese pandas to the Central Park Zoo.
She’s long been an advocate for passing the Equal Rights Amendment and trying to launch a Smithsonian dedicated just for women’s achievements.
But some of her views and comments have been controversial — including having to apologize for using the “N” word in retelling a story and having to walk back comments where she linked vaccines to causing autism.
Some Democrats privately say they don’t believe Maloney is up to the task of following in the footsteps of Cummings, who commanded a national audience and earned bipartisan respect in chairing high-profile hearings.
“I think people are concerned about her stability and ability to operate effectively in this critically important investigation,” one Democratic source said.
The chairmanship decision is slated to be decided Nov. 12 by members of the House Democratic Caucus Steering and Policy Committee, which is led by Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut and Reps. Eric Swalwell and Barbara Lee, both of California.
The body has several New York members who will go to bat for Maloney, including Reps. Grace Meng and Nita Lowey.
“I think she has the argument of seniority first of all,” Meng told The Post. “But also she is known to be someone who is very proactive and very persistent on any issue – small or big.”
Added Lowey: “As a fellow New Yorker, I support Carolyn wholeheartedly.”
But the race so far is looking more like free for all as Maloney has failed to clear the field.
Oversight Committee Member Rashida Tlaib, a member of the “squad,” said she hopes Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) jumps in the race.
She wants “someone with a constitutional law background and (someone) who has been part of the depositions,” Tlaib told The Post. “Congressman Raskin knows that I hope he does at least try. He’s somebody I would like to support. … He’s been a great teacher for me.”
And Lynch, an official challenger, said seniority doesn’t seem to be such a factor because Cummings previously leapfrogged Maloney to earn the top Democratic spot in 2011 when former Committee Chairman Rep. Ed Towns didn’t run for the spot.
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