House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday announced appointments to several powerful committees, most notably the selection of Rep. Kathleen Rice above fellow New Yorker Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
New York lawmakers had jockeyed for a seat on the panel, according to several media reports, and had been lobbying colleagues behind the scenes for weeks, Politico reported.
The committee oversees a wide variety of topics, including consumer protection, food and drug safety, public health, health policy and climate issues.
Politico reported that there was a controversial private meeting at the Steering and Policy Committee on Thursday, where a secret ballot took place to vote on the two candidates. The news report said the vote was 46-13.
Ocasio-Cortez, a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and a rising star in the party, has spoken out on many of the issues the committee would address. She is currently a member of the powerful House Committee on Oversight and Reform. She also co-chaired a panel that advised President-elect Joe Biden on climate policy during his campaign.
Rice is a more moderate member of the party, a former district attorney representing parts of Long Island. She is currently a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security. Rice’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Pelosi praised the appointments in a statement.
“House Democrats are united in our mission to build back better, and with these strong voices at the table, we will deliver on that sacred promise to make a real difference to all Americans,” she said.