By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Democrats have named Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney as the interim chair for the House Oversight and Reform Committee last Thursday following the death of Representative Elijah Cummings, who played an active role in the impeachment inquiry as the committee’s chair.
Maloney is a senior Democrat on the panel and the New York Times noted last week that her appointment as acting chairwoman is in line with House rules. A permanent leader of the committee is expected to be elected at a later time, a senior Democratic leadership aide said.
Local elected officials lauded the news of Maloney’s appointment while paying tribute to Cummings.
“While we all mourn the loss of Congressmember Cummings, I am reassured by Congressmember Maloney’s appointment as interim Chair,” Assemblymember Harvey Epstein said. “Congresswoman Maloney is dedicated to protecting our democracy and I am confident that she will carry out what is necessary to move forward with impeachment inquiries.”
State Senator Brad Hoylman said that he has worked with Maloney on a number of issues and is confident that she will be an effective leader in the impeachment inquiry.
“She’s a progressive leader who fights for New Yorkers every day,” Hoylman said. “At a time when the House Oversight Committee is faced with the solemn challenge of investigating presidential abuses of power, all Americans can trust Congresswoman Maloney to uncover the truth and conduct meaningful oversight.”
Councilmember Keith Powers said that Maloney has been a strong advocate for the neighborhood, and said that her persistence in Washington will continue to serve the district well during the ongoing impeachment inquiry.
“Congresswoman Maloney has always been a fierce fighter for her district and in Washington,” he said. “As impeachment proceedings unfold in Congress, I have confidence she’ll lead with the tenacity and urgency she has for decades.”
Former Assemblymember Steve Sanders has known Maloney for the last 40 years, first meeting her when he was a new Assemblymember and she was a staff member for an Assemblymember in the Bronx. He said that he got to know her well from the early 1990s until the early 2000s while they both represented most of the East Side in Manhattan, after she was elected to Congress in 1992 by beating incumbent Republican Bill Green.
“I think that she has good qualifications to Chair the Oversight Committee because she is thoughtful and very knowledgeable of all aspects of government actions, which the Oversight Committee has purview,” Sanders said. “She understands the role of government institutions and the importance of checks and balances. She has excellent political instincts and she listens before she acts, which certainly sets her apart from many politicians, including and especially the President.”
Sanders added that he feels she would do well in impeachment proceedings and as a centrist Democrat, would not endorse impeachment for political reasons.
“She is calm and will think through these important issues,” he said. “The oversight Committee really needs a chair who, by experience and intellect, understands the mission and the limitations of government, including the Executive Branch. Carolyn understands all that.”
Maloney mourned the passing of Cummings last week, saying that the country has lost a “true leader” and pioneer and that she has lost a friend and mentor.
“In an era where our politics have been plagued by coarseness and personal attacks, Elijah represented grace, dignity and empathy under the most trying of circumstances,” she said.
“His legacy—his fight for fairness, justice, and equality—should be an inspiration to us all. My heart goes out to his family.”