Carolyn Maloney elected first woman to lead House Oversight Committee
Washington (CNN) Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York will become the chairwoman of the House Oversight Committee after winning a caucus-wide vote for the post, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a news release Wednesday. She'll be the first woman to lead the powerful panel.
Maloney defeated Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia by 133-86, according to a source familiar.
"The Congress and the country were devastated by the loss of Chairman Elijah Cummings, a master of the House who led the Committee on Oversight and Reform with great honor, integrity and principle," Pelosi said. "Now, our Caucus has elected Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, a deeply respected and battle-tested leader, to this critical post."
The California Democrat said Maloney will bring "outstanding legislative experience and knowledge of the workings of the Congress that will strengthen the Oversight Committee's work at this critical time in our nation's history."
The House committee is important not only because of its role in the impeachment inquiry, but it's also played a major role in taking on issues the Democratic Party had with the Trump administration before the Ukraine matter. The committee held hearings on the census citizenship question, the administration's border policies and its security clearance policies earlier in the year.
It also hosted President Donald Trump's former fixer and attorney Michael Cohen for a public hearing in February, before the Russia report was released.
Maloney, who has been a member of the committee since she came to Congress in 1993, began serving as acting chairwoman in October after the death of Cummings, a Maryland Democrat. In a Dear Colleague letter last month, she stressed her work challenging the Trump administration's proposed citizenship question as proof she is ready to take on the administration
The caucus vote Wednesday came after Maloney won the House Democratic steering committee's recommendation for the post by 36-16 in a runoff against Connolly, according to two Democratic aides.
"We are confident that Congresswoman Maloney's leadership will help ensure that the Congress can function as our Founders intended, as a co-equal branch acting as a check and balance on the others, Pelosi said Wednesday," and that our Democratic Majority can continue to achieve progress For The People."
CORRECTION: This story has been updated to accurately reflect the steering committee's vote total.
CNN's Haley Byrd and Ellie Kaufman contributed to this report.