House Democrats won’t let pregnant Iraqi war veteran vote by proxy
Congressman Frank Pallone cruised to reelection easily earlier this month, but the race he’s been waging since February for a key leadership post in the Democratic Minority of the House of Representatives will come to a head on Tuesday, November 18.
Pallone is battling California Congressman Anna Eshoo for the ranking position on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The retirements of Henry Waxman and John Dingle made the coveted position available. Pallone is the next in line for the job, based upon seniority, but Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in backing her California colleague Eshoo who, as At-Large Democratic Whip, has been part of Pelosi’s leadership team since 2003.
Maryland Congressman Steny Hoyer, the # 2 Democratic Leader in the House, backs Pallone for the position.
Pelosi has taken the unusual step of writing to all members of the Democratic Caucus three times in support of Eshoo. The most recently letter, which was sent last week according to The Hill, downplays the importance of seniority in selecting committee chairs.
Both sides claim they have enough votes. One report said that Pelosi has 105 votes for Eshoo, which would carry the day the day in the 186 member caucus.
One of Pallone’s supporters will not be present to vote for him on Tuesday. House Democrats voted last week not to waive a rule requiring members to be physically present to vote. Illinois Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, a very pregnant Iraqi War Vet who lost both of her legs in battle, is under doctor’s orders to stay home until she delivers her child in December, had requested the rule be waived so that she could vote via proxy.