Why is a Texas colleague’s decision to retire important for Maryland Congressman Jamie B. Raskin (D)? Because the falling dominoes seem likely to put Raskin in a position of greater power on Capitol Hill.
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) announced Saturday that she plans to retire after the 2022 election. Johnson, 85, who has served in the House since 1993, is the chair of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. She became the 16th House Democrat to announce that she isn’t planning to return in the next Congress — a list that includes Maryland Rep. Anthony G. Brown (D), who is running for attorney general in 2022.
With Johnson leaving her committee post, California Rep. Zoe Lofgren is in line to become the top Democrat on the Science panel. Lofgren is the chair of the House Committee on Administration, which is charged with the oversight of federal elections and the day-to-day operations of the House of Representatives. Assuming Lofgren takes over as the top Democrat on the Science committee, the second most senior Democrat on the Administration panel — Raskin — would be poised to move up.
The question then becomes whether the Democrats are able to keep their majority in the next Congress, which would make Raskin the committee chair, or whether they fall into the minority, in which case Raskin would be the Administration panel’s ranking member. Most political prognosticators see the Republicans taking over control of the House in 2023.