Image via WikipediaThe House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) has jurisdiction over bills and investigations related to the foreign affairs of the United States. With the switch in power flipped by voters who showed up and voters who went MIA in yesterday’s midterm elections, the HFAC leadership will also switch from Howard Berman (D-CA) to — it looks like, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL). See Josh Rogin’s introduction to the new chairwoman:
Now that the Republicans are projected to take control of the House, we here at The Cable would like to introduce you to the next head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
Ros-Lehtinen has been a force on the committee for years as the vocal, passionate, sometimes combative ranking Republican. A Cuban-American lawmaker from a heavily Jewish district, Ros-Lehtinen has staked out firm positions on several issues that stand in contrast to now outgoing chairman Howard Berman (D-CA).
Her ascendancy as chairwoman will change the tone and agenda of the committee and will pose new challenges for the Obama administration’s efforts to advance its foreign-policy agenda.
Over the mid to long term, Ros-Lehtinen is poised to thwart Obama’s efforts to move toward repealing sanctions on Fidel Castro and resist any White House attempts to pressure Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. She isn’t likely to move Berman’s foreign-aid reform bill through the committee and she is likely to seek cuts in the foreign-aid budget in her authorization bill.
Read the whole thing here.
Over at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, one of the few Dems who did not run away from his record and pretended he was somebody else just to win re-election, also got kicked out. Via The Cable:
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Wisconsin’s Russ Feingold was no ordinary Democratic senator. He staunchly staked out unabashedly liberal positions on all things foreign policy and national security related, right up until his defeat Tuesday night.
He was the only senator to vote against the Patriot Act in 2001 when it first came up for a vote. He voted against giving Bush authorization to wage war in Iraq and pushed for withdrawal timelines throughout the war, often ignoring the wishes of Senate Democratic leadership. He introduced a resolution to censure Bush for violating Americans’ civil rights through what he said was illegal domestic wiretapping.
With Feingold gone, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Democratic roster is more centrist, just as the Republican side of the bench is set to become more conservative. With Dodd also leaving the Senate this year, that’s a lot of institutional knowledge to lose in one night.
And if Kerry ever does become secretary of state, Feingold is no longer in the running to replace him. Kerry’s departure would leave the job of chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee up for grabs, with Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) as the early favorites.
Continue reading, Senate loses its left-wing leader on foreign policy.