Come January, Long Island Congressman Peter King will be the state’s lone chairman in Washington.
House Republicans officially voted this morning for King to retake the gavel of the Homeland Security Committee when the new Congress convenes next month.
New York Democrats are set to lose a number of powerful posts in the wake of last month’s 60-seat loss, making King–who passed on rumored runs for governor or Senate–the big winner among the state’s congressional delegation.
King previously chaired the committee until 2007, when Democrats retook control of Congress and he was relegated to the ranking member role. He has been a vocal critic of the Obama administration on a number of issues over the last two years, and told me last month that he plans for a much more vigorous–and possibly controversial–committee when he re-takes the gavel.
While King’s confirmation was widely expected, there was another vote that could bear on his future. The House Steering Committee declined to recommend Texas Congressman Joe Barton as chairman of the Energy Committee, and he lost the vote in the full House today. Barton was term-limited out of the chairman’s chair, but had asked for a waiver from the House leadership, arguing that time spent in the minority shouldn’t count against the term limits. The committee declined to recommend him, though it’s unclear whether that was a result of term limits, or simply a preference for his challenger.
King will have to ask for a similar waiver to maintain the gavel beyond this term. He stands to be term-limited out his own chairmanship in 2012, when there happens to be an election on the Senate side.