- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 9, 2010

The House Democratic Caucus on Thursday picked its leaders for five committees for the 112th Congress, which will convene in January with the party in the House minority for the first time in four years.

The caucus voted to approve House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee recommendations for “ranking members” status for the following lawmakers:

· Rep. Henry Waxman of California, Energy and Commerce Committee

· Rep. Norm Dicks of Washington, Appropriations Committee

· Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts, Financial Services Committee

· Rep. Sander Levin of Michigan, Ways and Means Committee

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in addition nominated — and the caucus approved — Rep. Robert Brady of Pennsylvania as ranking member for the House Administration Committee.

All currently serve as their panels’ chairmen except for Mr. Dicks, who was the second leading Democrat in the Appropriations Committee behind retiring Chairman David R. Obey of Wisconsin.

Democratic leaders are expected to announced the remaining ranking members next week.

“The vast experience and wealth of knowledge of these distinguished members prepares them to continue addressing the challenges facing our country as ranking members,” Mrs. Pelosi said in a prepared statement.

In one of the only Democratic committee battles, Rep. Richard E. Neal of Massachusetts had challenged Mr. Levin, who took control of the gavel months ago when former chairman Rep. Charles B. Rangel stepped aside while embroiled in an ethics investigation.

Despite serving as a temporary placeholder for the chairmanship, Mr. Levin was considered the leading candidate for the ranking member’s post.