Larson gives up one party post, gains another

Washington — Because there are limits on how long he could stay in the job, on Thursday U.S. Rep. John Larson handed over the gavel he held as head of the Democratic caucus to his successor. But Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has given him another job.

She named Larson chairman of a new Democratic task force on campaign finance reform.

“It’s a ripe time for this,” Larson said.

In leadership elections held Thursday, Democrats re-elected Pelosi by unanimous consent as their House leader. She was unopposed.


John B. Larson

So were the other House Democrats who won leadership posts.  Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland remains Democratic Whip, Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina remains Assistant Democratic Leader and Rep. Xavier Becerra of California assumes the job Larson has had since 2006 as head of the Democratic Caucus.

“I entered this position knowing it was term-limited,” Larson said. “But I suspect I’ll still be at the table in various capacities.”

Larson will still serve as Democratic caucus chairman for the remaining weeks of the lame duck session. But in the next Congress that convenes in January, he’ll be forced to trim the extra staff he hired as part of the Democratic leadership.  His new position as chairman of the campaign finance reform task force does not allow him to hire additional staff.

Pelosi said she spoke to President Obama on election night about the priorities of the 113th Congress and the president said he’d like to see political reform.

Larson said he’ll move up in the Ways and Means Committee in the next Congress and will likely be the top Democrat on one of the panel’s subcommittees. He said he was interested in four subcommittees, those on trade, health care, revenues or Social Security.

New Democratic lawmakers were also introduced during the leadership elections. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3rd District, introduced Rep.-elect Elizabeth Esty, who will represent Connecticut’s 5th District in the new Congress.

Esty’s first official act was to vote for Pelosi and the rest of the Democratic leadership team.

House Republicans held their leadership elections earlier this month, voting in Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, as Speaker in the next the Congress and Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., as Majority Leader.