The new members of Minnesota’s House delegation haven’t had much to do yet in Washington, bogged down as it is by the nearly monthlong government shutdown. But last week they finally got committee assignments.
A lawmaker’s committee slots usually dictate their legislative focus. Freshman lawmakers often angle for powerful committees like Ways and Means or Appropriations, which tend to be dominated by more senior lawmakers.
None of Minnesota’s five new House members landed on those two coveted panels, which respectively oversee taxes and spending. Democratic Rep. Dean Phillips sought a Ways and Means nod, but instead ended up on Foreign Affairs, which oversees U.S. foreign policy, and Financial Services.
Rep. Ilhan Omar will serve alongside fellow Democrat Phillips on Foreign Affairs and on Education and Labor.
Two other new Minnesota members scored seats they wanted on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Democratic Rep. Angie Craig and Republican Rep. Pete Stauber are now positioned to steer federal construction dollars toward their districts.
Craig also got on the Agriculture Committee.
Republican Rep. Jim Hagedorn was also chasing an Agriculture Committee assignment. Republican members of that panel had not yet been announced.