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Posted at 1:14 PM ET, 12/20/2010

With Chaffetz out, identity of D.C.'s GOP overseer in doubt

By Mike DeBonis

The identity of the District of Columbia's next congressional overseer is still very much up in the air.

On Friday, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chair of the House Oversight Committee, announced that Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) -- heretofore the ranking member of the subcommittee with responsibility for District affairs -- will not take over that subcommittee but instead will helm the higher-profile National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations panel. Chaffetz was widely expected to become the first congressional Republican with direct power over city affairs since 2007.

That leaves folks guessing as to which Republican will be left to take the D.C. subcommittee's gavel; a spokesman for Issa says an announcement might not come for a month or more.

Folks at Slate and City Paper alighted on Rep. Brian Bilbray (Calif.) -- who indeed is the next Republican in seniority on the current panel.

Problem: Bilbray won't even be on the Oversight Committee in the next Congress. Instead, he's got a plum assignment on the Energy Committee. So who does that leave?

Issa has already named two senior Republicans to chair other subcommittees, and another veteran on the committee, John Mica (Fla.), already chairs the House Transportation Committee. That leaves Reps. Dan Burton (Ind.) or Mike Turner (Ohio) -- or possibly two sitting members who will be new to Oversight, Rep. Connie Mack (Fla.) or Rep. Todd Platts (Pa.)

Three are unlikely: Turner, a former mayor of Dayton, Ohio, is in line to chair a defense subcommittee; Burton is in line to chair a foreign affairs subcommittee; and Platts is set to chair an education and labor subcommittee.

So it could be Mack, or it could be one of the 14 freshmen Republicans named to the Oversight Committee: Justin Amash (Mich.), Ann Marie Buerkle (N.Y.), Scott DesJarlais (Tenn.), Blake Farenholt (Texas), Paul Gosar (Ariz.), Trey Gowdy (S.C.), Frank Guinta (N.H.), Mike Kelly (Pa.), Raul Labrador (Idaho), James Lankford (Okla.), Pat Meehan (Pa.), Dennis Ross (Fla.), Tim Walberg (Mich.), or Joe Walsh (Ill.)

Will Issa name a rookie? He's done it before: Chaffetz became ranking member of the District subcommittee as a freshman.

Additional reporting by Ben Pershing

By Mike DeBonis  | December 20, 2010; 1:14 PM ET
Categories:  Congress, The District  
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