Mica to take over new Government Operations subcommittee

Wednesday - 1/2/2013, 3:33pm EST

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is consolidating two subcommittees that oversee major agency functions, such as procurement and technology, into a new one called the Subcommittee on Government Operations.

An Oversight and Government Reform Committee source confirmed that Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) will be the chairman of the new panel.

Mica moves over after spending six years as chairman or ranking member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) is the new chairman of that committee. Mica had to give up that chairmanship because of terms limits set by the House Republican leaders.

Full list of new subcommittee leadership
  • Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service and the Census — Rep. Blake Farenthold (Texas)

  • Government Operations — Rep. John Mica (Florida)

  • National Security — Rep. Jason Chaffetz (Utah)

  • Economic Growth, Job Creation and Regulatory Affairs — Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio)

  • Energy Policy, Health Care and Entitlements — Rep. James Lankford (Oklahoma)

This will be the second go-around for Mica as a chairman of an Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee. Previously, he led the Civil Service Subcommittee and Criminal Justice and Drug Policy Subcommittee.

The committee source said the new Government Operations Subcommittee combines most of the jurisdictions of the Subcommittee on Government Organization, Efficiency, and Financial Management and the Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and Procurement Reform.

Rep. Todd Platts (R-Pa.) led the subcommittee on government organization until he retired from Capitol Hill at the end of the 112th session. Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.), who was the chairman of the technology subcommittee, now takes over the new Energy Policy, Health Care and Entitlements subcommittee.

Rep. Ed Towns (D-N.Y.) served as ranking member with Platts, while Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) served as ranking member with Lankford. Towns also retired from Congress at the end of the session.

A Democratic committee staff member said Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the ranking member on the full committee, will officially announce subcommittee ranking members later this month.

Along with Mica's move, Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) takes over the Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service and the Census subcommittee from Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.).

Farenthold was not a member of the subcommittee in the 112th Congress, but he was on the Government Organization, Technology and National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations subcommittees.

He sponsored one bill in the 112th Congress that would impact agencies. The Federal Agency Transparency Act would require all federal agencies, at the end of each two-week period, to publish on their official websites a statement of all funds received and spent during such period. The bill never got out of subcommittee.

He co-sponsored a handful of anti-federal workforce bills, including the Reducing the Size of the Federal Government Through Attrition Act of 2011, which would keep the size of the federal workforce to no larger than 90 percent of the total number of employees as of Sept. 30, 2011. He also co-sponsored a bill to amend Title V to provide that agencies do not deduct union dues from federal paychecks.

Mica's move to the new consolidated committee lets him continue to oversee several issues, such as the General Services Administration's reform efforts and the disposal of unused or underutilized federal buildings. These were two areas over the last year that he and Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) stepped up pressure on GSA to fix.

A Hill source said it looks as though Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.) will remain with the National Security subcommittee and Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) will remain with the Federal Workforce subcommittee. Connolly is most likely to join Mica on the new Government Operations Subcommittee. Reps. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) and Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) also could be in line for the subcommittee chairmanships should one or more open up.

This would be the second major reconfiguration of the committee over the past two years. In January 2011, Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) revamped the committee structure to have seven subcommittees.

Lankford and Platts were less aggressive subcommittee chairmen than Mica is expected to be.

Lankford focused on many different areas, including improving the federal grant-making process, improving Freedom of Information Act requirements and reducing the amount of "red tape" agencies require businesses and citizens to go through to get services.

Platts focused on reducing the amount of improper payments, better overall financial management and the growing problem of identity theft at the IRS.

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