Will Speaker of the House-elect Nancy Pelosi appoint the chairmanships by seniority?
That’s what many Blacks want to know.
If she does, Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) would chair the powerful Ways and Means committee; Rep. John Conyers (D-Michigan) would chair the Judiciary committee; Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) would chair the Homeland Security committee, and Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), would chair the House Intelligence committee.
If this happened, it would make history for Blacks serving in Congress.
A senior House committee staffer told BlackAmericaWeb.com, that rumors on Capitol Hill suggest that Pelosi may appoint a Hispanic to head Intelligence, but the staffer said he doesn’t anticipate Pelosi will risk alienating the Caucus.
“Her relationship with the Caucus is shaky because of a lot of things, including Jefferson,” the staffer said, recalling how Democrats, including some members of the CBC, did not go to the aid of Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.), who is under investigation in a bribery scandal.
The size of the Congressional Black Caucus will remain the same, 40 members of the House (plus two non-voting delegates), and Illinois’ Barack Obama in the Senate.
The caucus lost one member with the departure of Rep. Harold Ford, whose cousin, Jake Ford, lost in his bid to keep the majority-Black Memphis district in Black hands. But it picked up a new member with the election of Keith Ellison, a Black Muslim from a Minnesota district that is only about 15 percent black.
U.S. Rep. William Jefferson will face state Rep. Karen Carter, also a Black Democrat, in a Dec. 9 runoff election.
California’s own, Juanita Millender-McDonald, who represents most of South Central Los Angeles, will chair the House Administration Committee.