Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Meet The Radical Republicans Chairing Important House Committees

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has announced the new House committee leaders: a full slate of white men. While many of these Congressmen are holding on positions they’ve already got, there are a few new faces sitting in the Chairperson’s seat. What follows is ThinkProgress’ guide to the views of five of the new committee chairs on the issues they’ll be in charge of, which range from climate change to immigration to financial regulation:

Lamar Smith (Texas) — Science, Space and Technology
Like his predecessor, Rep. Smith is a climate change skeptic. Smith refers to supporters of the scientific consensus as “global warming alarmists” and has criticized the media for not giving equal time to warming skeptics. His official website does say warming is occurring, but does not, as the consensus does, cite human activity as the cause. Unsurprisingly, Smith received significant donations from both Koch industriesand the oil and gas sector in his most recent campaign. The new House point man on technology is also the author of the terrible Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) and opposespotentially life-saving embryonic stem cell research.

Jeb Hensarling (Texas) — Financial Services
Rep. Hensarling will be the point Republican on anything relating to the financial sector, but his candidacy was underwritten by Wall Street: banks donated more than seven times as much as the next largest industry to Hensarling’s reelection campaign. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Hensarling wants to take down the Dodd-Frank regulations andthinks taxing the financial industry is “frankly ludicrous.” Hensarling has also calledSocial Security, Medicare, and Medicaid “cruel Ponzi schemes.”

Ed Royce (California) — Foreign Affairs
Rep. Royce has a questionable history with respect to people from diverse cultures and backgrounds: last year, he told an anti-Muslim rally that multiculturalism “has paralyzed too many of our citizens to make the critical judgement we need to make to prosper as a society.” He also appears on lead Islamophobic propagandist Frank Gaffney’s radio show, proposed a national version of Arizona’s “papers, please” immigration law, and allegedly sent mailers accusing his Taiwanese-American opponent in the 2012 election of being funded by Chinese Communists.

Michael McCaul (Texas) — Homeland Security
Rep. McCaul, Congress’ richest member, seems primed to carry on his predecessor Peter King’s hardline legacy. McCaul enthusiastically endorsed King’s hearings on Islamic terrorism that, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, “demonized” Muslims. He’s also a drug warrior who proposed legislation designating Mexican cartels “foreign terrorist organizations,” a move that infuriated the Mexican government and would have given the DEA access to enhanced counterterrorism powers. McCaul has also celebrated Arizona’s discriminatory “show me your papers” immigration law andcompared President Obama to King George III.

Bob Goodlatte (Virginia) — Judiciary
Rep. Goodlatte, like Rep. Royce, is staunchly anti-immigrant, opposing a pathway to citizenship and calling the DREAM act “ripe for fraud.” The Judiciary Committee has principal jurisdiction on immigration. Moreover, Goodlatte holds fringe views on the Constitution: he believes that Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional, and that the federal minimum wage may be.

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