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The Squad members, including newcomers Reps. Jamaal Bowman and Cori Bush, pose for a photo after being sworn into office as part of the 117th Congress. Photo: Twitter 
The Squad members, including newcomers Reps. Jamaal Bowman and Cori Bush, pose for a photo after being sworn into office as part of the 117th Congress. Photo: Twitter 

Pelosi announces Squad, other progressives to serve on House committees

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Talib, Cori Bush, and Katie Porter were named House Oversight and Reform Committee members for 117th Congress

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Following her reelection as House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced new committee assignments on the evening of Jan. 5, including prominent, progressive, and newly-elected freshman members of Congress. 

“Squad” members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rashida Talib (D-MI), and newly-elected Cori Bush (D-MO) will now be on the House Oversight and Reform Committee. 

Two are O.G. members of the Squad, while Bush, a Black Lives Matter organizer, is the incoming representative.

Rep. Jamaal Bowman, also a newly-welcomed member of the Squad, was appointed by Pelosi to join the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee. 

Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY), a progressive with at times differing ideals, and who identifies as independent from Squad members, was named to the House Homeland Security Committee. 

“I am honored to be appointed to the House Committee on Homeland Security, which covers cybersecurity, election security, emergency preparedness, immigration, and federal law enforcement,” Torres wrote on Twitter.

He and Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-NY) made history by becoming the first two openly-gay Black men in congress. Jones will serve on the House Education and Labor Committee. 

Rep. AOC was recently denied a request to be appointed to the House Energy and Commerce committee, despite heavy involvement in clean energy initiatives like the Green New Deal, which has gathered opposition from centrists and moderates since it was introduced. 

She and other Squad members were hammered on social media following Pelosi’s reelection, with many questioning how they could have voted for her if they were really in the Progressive movement’s best interests, and accusing them of “selling out.”

But after Pelosi’s committee announcements, Twitter users speculated that the progressive shift in committee positions may have been a product of the votes in Pelosi’s favor. 

AOC previously served on the oversight committee, with Tlaib, and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) for the past two years. But during that period, most of the notable action was delegated to the Judiciary and Intelligence committees. 

Additionally, the Bronx rep was not a full “waived” member at the time, as opposed to a full “primary” member of the committee. 

She explained this on Twitter after one user expressed confusion at the announcement. 

“We are now full primary members. That means we are locked in and accrue standing, which allows us to better lead and launch investigations,” she wrote. 

AOC also broke-down some of what she was able to accomplish as a “waived” member in those two years, saying that their investigations included increasing access to prescription generic drugs, going after military contractors, and further exposing the Trump tax scandal. 

The Squad grew in 2020, and its appointment to committee positions strengthens the already strong Oversight committee, led by Chair Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and star interrogator Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA), who was reassigned to the panel by Pelosi. 

Rep. Bush reacted to the nomination on Twitter with a touch of humor. 

“Did I just hear that I’m going to be joining @AOC, @Ayanna Pressley, and @Rashida Tlaib on the House Oversight and Reform Committee? If @KatiePorterOC can bring her whiteboard— can I bring my bullhorn?” she wrote.

What’s more, the appointments of these progressive lawmakers will provide them with more influence to push Biden and his appointees to adopt and implement progressive policies and initiatives.

Already, they are calling for the push on social media, calling for retroactive COVID relief, student loan cancellation, climate justice, healthcare, voting rights, ending the filibuster, the death penalty, and more. 

Now that the Democrats have the Senate majority, the room to push on their progressive policies is greater. 

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